This weekend, the San Francisco 49ers play in Mexico for Monday Night Football. They will be playing against NFC West Rivals, the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams are coming off a win, but the 49ers have a better record sitting at 5-4. Arizona currently has a 4-5 record. The two teams have not faced off yet this season, and while it is technically a Cardinals home game, there are expected to be more San Francisco fans. Here are three players to watch, as the 49ers play in Mexico.
49ers Play in Mexico: Fred Warner
Linebacker Fred Warner is known as the quarterback on the defense. He is a true leader and pushes himself to be the best he can be every game. Last weekend, when Dre Greenlaw was kicked out of the game after a head-to-head hit on Chargers quarterback, Justin Herbert, Warner stepped up to keep the defense strong. With the leadership he brings, he is a player to watch as the 49ers play in Mexico.
Warner is a player to rely on, no matter what play the opposing offense is running. This season, Warner has had a total of 69 combined tackles, 40 of which are solo, one sack, and four quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Reference. Warner also has six pass deflections, but no interceptions. There have been multiple times this season where the linebacker almost caught the interception but just missed. Perhaps Monday will be the day it finally happens.
While Warner could always be considered a player to watch, there is a reason he is specifically chosen for when the 49ers play in Mexico. Cardinals quarterback, Kyler Murray leads the team in rushing yards, according to ESPN. While it is not confirmed that Murray will start for the Cardinals, Warner’s ability to run around the field can prevent Murray from being able to rush the ball.
49ers Play in Mexico: Jauan Jennings
Wider receiver Jauan Jennings is one of the most under-appreciated offensive weapons on the San Francisco 49ers’ offense. Jennings has been a great third-down receiver for this team for the past two years. Jennings has been making clutch plays this season, making him a player to watch when the 49ers play in Mexico.
This season, Jennings has 18 receptions for 220 yards, according to Pro Football Reference. Of those receptions, while he may have no touchdowns, he has caught for 12 first downs. With a team stacked on offense, having a player that opposing defenses may underestimate can put the team at a strong advantage.
According to ESPN, The Arizona Cardinals’ defense allows about 247.1 passing yards per game. Jennings may not be the top offensive target, but he is a huge reason that this team wins games. The Cardinals also have only allowed about 110.5 rushing yards per game. The 49ers have a great run game but if they are unable to get anything going against the Cardinals, they will need players they can rely on in the passing game. Jennings is going to be an important player to watch when the 49ers play in Mexico for Monday Night Football.
49ers Play in Mexico: Talanoa Hufanga
Safety Talanoa Hufanga is a name by now that everyone knows. Hufanga has shown a drastic difference from his rookies season last year, to this season as a starter. Last weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers, Hufanga caught the game-winning interception that sealed the deal for the team. By ending the game this strong, Hufanga will be a player to watch to see if he can keep the momentum going as the 49ers play in Mexico.
This season, Hufanga has had a total of 50 combined tackles, 36 of which have been solo, and one sack, according to Pro Football Reference. As a safety, those tackles Hufanga makes are important to understand if the offensive player gets past him, it would be a big play for the 49ers’ opponents. Hufanga also has seven pass deflections and caught four interceptions for 61 yards and one touchdown. Turnovers have been a great help for the 49ers and can be crucial in order to win this weekend against the Arizona Cardinals.
This season, Murray has thrown six interceptions. and this is something to watch when the 49ers play in Mexico. There is a slight chance that Murray does not even play this weekend, with a hamstring injury. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has stated that the quarterback is still day-to-day.
While I believe there is a good chance Murray will play, this does make Hufanga more important to watch. With a leg injury, it may be difficult for Murray to scramble out of the pocket. This can lead to more sacks, tipped balls, and inaccurate passes. This can give Hufanga a higher chance to be a game changer.
The San Francisco 49ers will face off against the Arizona Cardinals for Monday Night Football. Be sure to watch for these three players as the 49ers play in Mexico for the first time since 2005. That game was also against the Arizona Cardinals, and Vivid Seats has claimed the stadium to be 82% 49ers fans.
For more NFL and NCAA content:
Check out my article on if it was justified to eject Dre Greenlaw from the game against the LA Chargers. Also, check out Rutgers top five NFL prospects here. Here are also two articles on which three Penn State players to watch this weekend and which three Rutgers players to watch, as the two schools face off.