The San Francisco 49ers are riding high after steam rolling the Houston Texans 34-3 in San Francisco. A win that definitely boosts the spirits of those in 49ers country. The 49ers needed to win, and blowing out Houston could be the beginning of many solid performances for San Francisco. The 49ers get the luxury of staying in the Bay Area this week, as the Cardinals make their way from the Sun Devil state, also with a record of 3-2, looking to establish themselves as a legitimate contender. Arizona has been known to play the 49ers tough, as division rivals, these two teams are very familiar with each other’s style of play, which could result in another entertaining match-up.
The Carson Palmer led Arizona Cardinals, has actually leaned on their defense to stay close in games, while Palmer slowly gets into his groove as the game goes on. The Cardinals are tough defensively, while Palmer threw 3 picks against Carolina, their defense also had three interceptions, 7 sacks, and hounded the Panthers backfield. Arizona constantly pressured Cam Newton and tackled Carolina’s running backs for a loss, easily dominating the lone of scrimmage.
Although I believe the 49ers match up very well upfront, you cannot underestimate this Cardinal front 7 led by Calais Cambell, who had 4 tackles with 2 sacks on Newton, and Daryl Washington who was everywhere with 9 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception. Accounting for these two will be crucial for the offensive line and any blocker leading through the hole. The 49ers must get Frank Gore going early, and utilizing Kendall Hunter for a change of pace, will be a nice luxury. The Cardinals will look to stop the run, and will challenge the 49ers receivers with Cornerback Patrick Peterson and Safety Tyrann Mathieu leading the way. Arizona believes they can win the battle in the secondary, and it’s up to the 49ers receiving core to prove them wrong.
Anquan Boldin cannot do it all himself, but I do expect him to have a good game, even in the likelihood Patrick Peterson is assigned to him all game, Boldin will have a decent game, and Peterson will be busy as usual. Vernon Davis should be a week more healed, and needs to be more involved in the passing game then just 3 receptions for 88 yards. Davis will have his battle with Tyrann Mathieu all day long in what could be the key battle of the day. How Vernon Davis performs in the first half could dictate the 49ers offensive strategy when the 2nd half kicks off.
The Cardinals have a very athletic secondary, so the 49ers receivers must bring their “A” game to the table or it could be a long day for Colin Kaepernick, Phil Dawson, and the 49ers because this one could easily become a field goal contest if both offenses don’t get going early. Las Vegas is giving the 49ers major points (-11) on their spread sheets, but it could actually be a lot closer then the odds makers will make you to believe. 49ers will win but by a touchdown or less, and if your not convinced, take the over on points, because if the Cardinals get shut out by the 49ers defense it could be a blow out. Do beware though that the Cardinals have been known to score late in games, often from behind, winning by slim margins. The 49ers better not sleep on this team, even with a big lead going into halftime, they must win all 4 quarters.