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49ers vs. Cardinals: 5 questions with Revenge of the Birds

The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. To get a better handle on the Cardinals, we chatted with Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Niners Nation: In spite of numerous losses, the defense seems to be off to a strong start. What can Cardinals fans make of the unit?

Revenge of the Birds: It looks like, once again, the run defense will be great. The defensive line is still strong and the outside linebackers are great at setting the edge. The linebackers just have to clean things up. The secondary looks good. The question is coverage in the middle of the field. Their vulnerability appears to be the dink and dunk game underneath.

NN: It seems like Carson Palmer is a question mark this weekend, meaning more Drew Stanton. What's the latest on Palmer's status, and what do you expect from the passing portion of the Cardinals offense?

RotB: Palmer has a nerve issue in his shoulder. It isn't firing, so he can't throw. I am personally doubtful he will play. Of course, it is an injury that could be fine tomorrow.

Stanton has complete trust from the coaches. He isn't the same level as Palmer, who can be as good as the best in the league. Stanton can be efficient -- think of a healthy and in-rhythm Kevin Kolb, but so far what we saw were slow decisions and being careful with the ball. Arians isn't going to drastically change his scheme, but look for a more careful approach.

But if Stanton gets more than 250 yards, I would be surprised.

NN: How about a general injury update, aside from Palmer?

RotB: There is Andre Ellington's foot, but it looks like he will play all season and miss a practice or two every week. Frostee Rucker and Alex Okafor will probably not play. Outside of that, the team is pretty healthy.

NN: Can you give us a new addition on each side of the ball this year that has you excited for the future?

RotB: On offense, the talk has been all John Brown. He is exciting. But he hasn't gotten the ball a ton yet, which makes sense because he is the number three receiver. But I want to talk about Jared Veldheer. Arizona hasn't had an average left tackle in forever, and Veldheer looks good. Teams won't be able to just come free on Palmer's blind side anymore. He is great in the run game. The fact that left tackle is no longer a question mark is so exciting.

NN: Score prediction!

RotB: If Palmer plays, I say Arizona wins 23-16. With Stanton, Arizona wins 17-16.