San Francisco at Arizona
Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. - TV: ESPN
*TV announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
*Keys to the game: After admittedly disturbing the rhythm of the offense with more Wildcat packages and increased passing, the 49ers got back to their foundation with RB Frank Gore and the ground game in their Week 7 victory over Seattle. With an extra four days of rest, San Francisco's bruising offensive line should be fresh - a big concern for an Arizona front seven that was worn down by Adrian Peterson last week. 49ers QB Alex Smith has thrown four interceptions in his past two games, and the Cardinals have the ability to bring pressure from any direction and force turnovers they must generate to be competitive. Arizona's biggest issue is a severe mismatch in the trenches when it has the ball. RB LaRod Stephens-Howling is coming off a 104-yard rushing game at Minnesota, and the undersized back has to be effective. The Cardinals struggle mightily in pass protection and QB John Skelton will be a pinata in long passing situations.
*Matchup to watch - 49ers TE Vernon Davis vs. Cardinals FSs Kerry Rhodes/Rashad Johnson: Davis wasn't targeted once in Week 7 and has just three receptions over the past two games. He said teams are taking his "explosive" routes away by dropping a corner and providing help over the top. Rhodes missed last week's game with a back injury, and was replaced by Johnson, who has struggled with consistency. James Sanders could also figure into the coverage mix.
*Player spotlight - 49ers C Jonathan Goodwin: The 11th-year veteran is quietly one of the league's top centers, and won the team's Bobb McKittrick Award in 2011 as the 49ers' top offensive linemen. He'll have his hands full against the Cardinals, as defensive coordinator Ray Horton loves the pressure up the middle by attacking the "A" gap.
*Fast facts: After going 39 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, the 49ers have allowed three in their past nine games. ... Cardinals WR Andre Roberts has seven touchdowns in his past 11 games.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
A hard-hitting defensive battle is controlled by the 49ers, who are coming off their bye week and appear recommitted to the ground game. Arizona will struggle to move the ball, and touchdowns will be difficult to come by.
*Our pick: 49ers 19-12