When the 49ers go to University of Phoenix Stadium to play the hot Arizona Cardinals, they’ll be reeling from last week’s bad loss against Chicago, where after 16 penalties and 4 turnovers, San Fran gave the Bears their first win of the year. It’s early in the season, but this is a very important game for these division rivals.
The Cardinals come in 2-0 with great wins against San Diego and New York. They look to push onward to 3-0 and prove to be contenders in the NFC but it will be a tough challenge considering the fact that Carson Palmer will most likely not play against San Francisco due to a bruised nerve on his throwing shoulder.
If Carson can’t play, this team will most likely struggle against the Niners. Don’t get me wrong, they can still succeed without Palmer but it’ll be a big obstacle for the Cards to overcome.
Drew Stanton isn’t a huge drop off from Palmer but there are enough concerns to worry me. Palmer has a better arm in both accuracy and power than Stanton, and has a better relationship with the starting offensive players, Stanton has had a week with the starters so his relationship with the starters has improved. I would without a doubt pick the Cardinals if Carson was one hundred percent, but since he won’t be 100%, this is a very tough game to choose.
I still think they can win because the Niners aren’t who we thought they were. The niners secondary is still weak, the front seven are still good but no where near as good as last year. Colin Kaepernick looked less than perfect against the lowly bears defense. If Colin can’t burn Chicago, i’m not sure how he will fare against the very good Cardinals secondary.
However, the Arizona Cardinals aren’t exactly functioning at 100% either. I’ve beaten the injury situation well into the ground, and I think this game goes down with both teams relying heavily on ground game to help both offenses to get rolling, especially the Cards so Stanton won’t have all the pressure put on top of him. I think San Fran will abuse the Cardinals in the running game and i’m not sure if the Cardinals can run the ball efficiently. If they can, it will be the difference maker towards a Cardinal win or loss.
Now, at the beginning of this story, I had San Francisco winning by a slim margin but I talked myself out of it. I think Arizona not having Palmer (at this point) will hurt them, but the fact that the Niners injuries, below average play by the secondary and the fact that the team played so awfully, I predict it’s gonna be 20-17 Cardinals. It’s going to be close but I trust the Cardinals defense, regardless of how many injuries they have, to get turnovers and make it easier for Stanton to win the game.
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