Two NFC West rivals face off Sunday afternoon as the 49ers and Cardinals play in Arizona. The 49ers lead the all time series 29-25, but the Cardinals have won 7 straight in the series.
San Francisco is coming off a 39-10 drubbing by the Rams. In week 5, the 49ers lost 28-18 to the Cardinals, and lost 33-30 to the Packers in week 6.
The Cardinals got smoked 45-10 by the Broncos last Thursday. In week 5, they beat the 49ers 28-18, and lost 27-17 to the Vikings in week 6.
The 49ers are 1 point favourites on Bovada, with an O/U of 42.5.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers turned the ball over 4 times last week against LA, but their offense hasn’t been that bad as Jimmy Garappolo. C.J. Beathard shows the tenacity to throw the ball downfield and take chances, but sometimes holds on to the ball too long. The running game has been strong all season, and although Matt Breida has struggled with injury, he is still averaging over 6.5 yards per carry.
Raheem Mostert has come on strong the past 2 weeks with 146 yards on just 19 carries. Tight end George Kittle leads the team in most receiving categories with 32 catches, 527 yards, and 2 TDs. The return of Marquise Goodwin gives the team a vertical element that they lacked the first several weeks.
DeForest Buckner is the story on defense, leading the team in hurries (19), sacks (5), and QB hits (5). Outside of Buckner, they lack a consistent pass rush. The secondary has struggled with injury and susceptibility to big plays.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Richard Sherman (calf) – questionable, CB jimmie Ward (hamstring) – questionable, WR Pierre Garcon (knee) – doubtful
The Cardinals offense was atrocious last week, turning the ball over 5 times, including 2 pick sixes. Highly touted coming out of UCLA, it is hard to truly evaluate Josh Rosen due to his offensive line. On the season, Rosen is averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt, has thrown for 770 yards, and a 3-5 TD-INT ratio. The Cardinals fired their offensive coordinator Mike McCoy following the loss last week, and promoted Byron Leftwich to the position. Hopefully Leftwich has more of an idea on how to get running back David
Johnson the ball in favourable positions, because McCoy sure didn’t. Of Johnsons 104 rushing attempts, 58 came in between the B gaps. Johnson’s receiving ability went to waste as well, as Johnson received just 21 snaps outside of the backfield on his 320 snaps this season. The only wide receivers with 10+ targets are Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald, with 37 and 43 respectively.
The Cardinals still have playmakers on defense. Chandler Jones provides an excellent threat off the edge. Jones has 6 sacks and 12 QB hurries this season, while Markus Golden has 8 hurries in just 4 games. Patrick Peterson is still a lockdown corner, allowing just 8.4 yards per reception into his coverage. Peterson has also picked off 2 passes, while free safety Tre Boston has 3 interceptions in 6 games.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
QB Josh Rosen (toe) – questionable, WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) – questionable, S Tre Boston (shoulder) – questionable
The Cardinals offensive ineptitude will be hard to overcome against a Kyle Shanahan coached team. The 49ers can still put up points, make no mistake. George Kittle is emerging as one of the premier tight ends in the league, and is by far C.J. Beathard’s favourite target, so we expect him to continue to be heavily involved, along with some deep shots to Marquise Goodwin if they can get him in a favourable matchup (anyone other than Patrick Peterson). The Cardinals have playmakers on defense, but fall off quickly talent wise after their top 3 or 4 players.
San Francisco’s weakness is their secondary, and Josh Rosen hasn’t shown anything to make me think he can dice them up in this game. It will be intriguing to see the changes Byron Leftwich installs, and if he can get David Johnson involved it will relieve
a lot of pressure off of his rookie QB. We still think Arizona’s offense, specifically their offensive line, will be their downfall in this game. We are taking the 49ers to cover on the road here.
Final Pick: 49ers (-1)