8. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Murray’s tumultuous 2022 season is well-documented, from his contract situation in the offseason to his unhappiness on and off the field during the season. To his credit, he’s managed to play through it enough to finish with six top 10 finishes in his first nine games. He’s finished out of the top 12 only twice. Last week he was hurt with a bad hamstring and Colt McCoy stepped in. Murray’s a game-time decision in Week 11 and we would advise his owners not to play the guessing game and leave him on the bench in Week 11.
Even if he does play he’s facing a 49ers defense that’s on the mend and gaining healthy bodies. In Weeks 6 and 7, the Falcons and Chiefs caught them off-guard and combined to score six touchdowns against the Niners’ D. Mahomes also threw for over 400 yards. It was foolish to think that opposing quarterbacks could keep this up as the Niners got healthier. A week 9 bye helped and if you look at the last two games, where the 49ers held both Matthew Stafford (187/1/0) and Justin Herbert (196/1/1) under 200 yards passing, it was more consistent to how well the Niners played in Weeks 1-5.
This is the first time Murray would be facing San Francisco this season and he has had varying degrees of success in five previous matchups. He’s never reached the 250 yard mark against them, nor has he thrown for more than two touchdowns, the last of which was in 2019. However, he has been effective as a runner, rushing for 268 yards for two touchdowns.
Outside of Marcus Mariota in Week 6, they’ve been able to contain QBs who run (although they only got a taste of Justin Fields was capable of in Week 1). We expect the 49ers to control the line of scrimmage in this game and make Murray predictable in the second half. That’s where turnovers and sacks can creep in and become a bigger problem.