Merry Christmas, everybody! It's a holiday for most, but the San Francisco 49ers are in the middle of their week of preparations for Sunday's regular season finale. The team had Tuesday off, and Coach Harbaugh said the team would be able to spend Christmas morning with their family. They will then return to work at 2 p.m. for a day of meetings.
The 49ers wrap up their 2013 regular season with a tough road contest. They will head to Glendale to face the Arizona Cardinals in a Week 17 matchup that has plenty at stake. The 11-4 49ers can clinch at least the 5th seed with a victory. The 10-5 Cardinals will still need a Saints loss to the Buccaneers. The Saints and Bucs will be playing at the same time, so it wouldn't surprise me if we hear updates during the game.
This is a tough game to figure. The Cardinals had some ups and downs early in the season, but they've now won 8 of their last 9 games, including a huge road win over the Seattle Seahawks last week. Their playoff chances are slim, but they will be alive heading into the afternoon, so they won't be rolling over.
This game will mark a huge pre-playoff test for the 49ers offense. The offense has been inconsistent, but has shown signs of life the last few weeks. The Cardinals defense has been incredibly strong this season, ranked by Football Outsiders as No. 2 overall (No. 3 vs. pass, No. 2 vs. run). The Cardinals defense is without explosive rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu, but it remains a strong unit with plenty of talent. It will be a significant test for this offense.
And of course, this also marks the return engagement of Michael Crabtree vs. Patrick Peterson. Although Peterson is incredibly talented, Crabtree has had a great deal of success against him. We'll see how Crabtree looks in his first matchup against Peterson since his Achilles injury.
- In his first career start, led the team with a season-high 15 tack- les vs. Arz. (1/2/11).
- Sacked Cardinals QB John Skelton late in the 2nd qtr. at Arz (10/29/12), giving him 2.0 sacks for the season and 4.0 for his career.
- Registered a team-high 10 tackles and recovered a fumble vs. Arz. (10/13/13). The takeaway turned into points when K Phil Dawson made a 44-yd. FG four plays later.
- Set single-game career-highs in sacks (3 - QB Kurt Warner) and FFs (2) vs. Arz. (12/14/09).
- Brought down QB Richard Bartel on the final series of the game vs. Arz. (1/2/11) for his 5th sack of the season. Also registered his first career INT, picking off Cardinals QB John Skelton and returning it 32 yds. to the Cardinals 8-yd. line, setting up a TD.
- Made his NFL debut vs. Arz. (9/10/07) and made his first career start at Arz. (11/10/08).
- Registered his first TD of his career, intercepting QB Richard Bartel and taking it 62 yds. for the score vs. Arz. (1/2/11).
- Notched his first INT of the season and 6th of his career at Arz. (12/11/11), picking off Cardinals QB John Skelton.
- Picked off QB Brian Hoyer in the 4th qtr. vs. Arz. (12/30/12). It marked his second INT of the season.
- Ranks 1st in the NFL among active TEs with 766 rec. yds. and 8 TDs on 51 recepts. against Arz.
- Made NFL debut and first career start at Arz. (9/10/06), hauling in a 31-yd. TD recept. on his first NFL catch.
- Caught an 18-yd. TD pass at Arz. (11/10/08). It marked his first TD recept. of the season.
- Had 3 recepts. for 34 yds. and 1 TD vs. Arz. (12/14/09). It marked his fourth-straight game with a TD recept.
- Caught 3 passes for 96 yds. and 1 TD vs. Arz. (1/2/11).
- Recorded 8 recepts. for a game-high 180 yds. and 2 TDs vs. Arz. (10/13/13), marking his 7th career game with 2-or-more rec. TDs.
- In 16 games against Arz., he has rushed for 1,163 yds. and 12 TDs on 258 carries, while adding 42 recepts. for 383 yds. and 1 TD.
- Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after having one of his best outings of the season at Arz. (11/25/07), rushing for 116 yds. and 2 TDs on 21 carries and recording 11 recepts. and 98 receiving yds. in a 37-31 OT win.
- Notched the fifth 1,000-yd. rushing season of his career, record- ing 72 yds. and 1 TD on 10 carries at Arz. (12/11/11). Gore registered his 6th rushing TD of the season and 41st of his career on a 37-yd. run.
- In the regular season finale vs. Arz. (12/30/12), he notched his 51st career rushing TD, surpassing HOF RB Joe Perry (50) and RB Roger Craig (50) for the most rushing TDs in franchise history.
- Recorded 25 carries for 101 yds. vs. Arz. (10/13/13), marking his 34th career game with 100-or-more rushing yds.
- Threw for 276 yds. and 2 TDs vs. Arz. (12/30/12). He finished the game with a 114.6 QB rating, his second-highest total of the season [133.1 vs. Chi. (11/19/12)].
- Registered 3 tackles, 1.0 sack for a safety, and forced a fumble vs. Arz. (10/13/13). The fumble was recovered by LB NaVorro Bowman and led to a 44-yd. FG by K Phil Dawson.
- Intercepted a pass by QB Carson Palmer and returned the pick 53 yds. to set up a 35-yd. FG by K Phil Dawson vs. Arz. (10/13/13). Also, recovered a fumble by WR Larry Fitzgerald, which led to a 6-yd. TD run by RB Kendall Hunter.
- Intercepted a QB Kurt Warner pass and returned it 42 yds. to set up go-ahead TD vs. Arz. (9/21/08), as a member of the Washington Redskins.
- Intercepted QB Carson Palmer vs. Arz. (10/13/13). The takeaway led to a 26-yd. FG by K Phil Dawson.
- Brought down QB John Skelton in the 3rd qtr. for his 10.5 sack of the season. at Arz. (12/11/11). Smith became the first 49er to record double-digit sacks since 2002 (DE Andre Carter 12.5). He also notched his 2nd FF of the season after stripping the ball from Skelton in the same game.
- Registered 2.0 sacks at Arz. (10/29/12) giving him 21.5 career sacks. Smith reached 20.0 career sacks in just 24 games, becoming the 2nd fastest in 49ers history, behind Hall of Famer Fred Dean who reached 20.0 sacks in 23 games from 1982-83.
- Made 49ers debut vs. Arz. (9/7/08) and had 8 tackles and 1 sack.
- Tallied 1 sack, 1 FF, 13 QB pressures and 9 hits on QB Kurt War- ner at Arz. (9/13/09). The sack and FF came as time expired to seal the victory.
- Registered 3.0 sacks vs. Arz. (1/2/11). S DONTE WHITNER
- Registered a FR and an INT vs. Arz. (11/20/11). He returned the INT 48 yds., marking the second longest return of his career (76 yds. for a TD – 9/20/09 vs. TB).
- In 9 career games vs. Arz., he has recorded 101 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 FFs and 7 PDs.
- Made his NFL debut and first-career start vs. Arz. (9/10/07) on Monday Night Football and recorded 15 total tackles.
- Registered his first-career FF vs. Arizona (9/10/07) by stripping RB Edgerrin James. Later that season, he had a career-high 15 solo tackles at Arz. (11/25/07).
- Picked off Cardinals QB John Skelton in the 1st qtr. vs. Arz. (11/20/11). He also registered 3 PDs and a FF after stripping RB Beanie Wells.
- Recorded 8 tackles and forced a fumble by WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Arz. (10/13/13). The loose ball was recovered by S Eric Reid and led to a 6-yd. TD run by RB Kendall Hunter.
Series Record: 49ers lead series 27-17
49ers Away Record vs. Cardinals: 49ers lead series 11-9
First Meeting: 11/18/51, Cardinals win 27-21, at SF*
Last Meeting: 10/13/13, 49ers win 32-20, at SF
Current Streak: Won 3
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 5 - 3 times (Last 9/13/09 - 11/20/11)
Longest Cardinals Win Streak: 4 - 2 times (Last 10/2/05 - 12/24/06)
Most 49ers Points: 56 (10/18/92): 49ers win 56-17, at SF
Most Cardinals Points: 34 - 2 times, (Last 9/10/06): Cardinals win 34-27, at Arz.
49ers Shutouts: None
Cardinals Shutouts: None
* - Chicago Cardinals
|49ERS (rank)||CARDINALS (rank)|
|11-4 (2nd NFCW)||Record||10-5 (3rd NFCW)|
|25.5 (t-10th)||Points per game||23.9 (t-16th)|
|320.3 (24th)||Total Offense||337.3 (21st)|
|141.2 (3rd)||Rushing Offense||97.1 (23rd)|
|179.1 (31st)||Passing Offense||240.2 (13th)|
|30:46 (11th)||Possession Avg||30:45 (12th)|
|16.8 (3rd)||Points allowed/gm||20.1 (7th)|
|305.9 (3rd)||Total Defense||313.6 (6th)|
|96.8 (5th)||Rushing Defense||84.5 (1st)|
|209.1 (4th)||Passing Defense||229.1 (t-15th)|
|37 (t-17th)||Sacks||45 (t-4th)|
|48.6 (2nd)||Punting Avg (Gross)||45.6 (12th)|
|+10 (t-6th)||Turnover Differential||+1 (t-14th)|