We chatted with Revenge of the Birds site manager Seth Cox this week in preparation for the San Francisco 49ers Week 9 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, and it is prediction time. The 49ers are 2.5-point underdogs at home this week, which will be one of their closer lines this season. Seth offered some thoughts on what he expects on Sunday, but also what could potentially lead to a Cardinals loss. Thanks, Seth!
With the Arizona Cardinals coming off a bye week, getting the less than impressive C.J. Beathard, without their top offensive lineman and best receiver, this looks like a win for the Arizona Cardinals. However, with the way this season for the Cardinals has gone, there's no such thing as an “easy” win. In fact, the Cardinals needed overtime at nearly full strength to beat the 49ers at home in September.
Here's three reasons the Cardinals lose on Sunday.
With Carson Palmer hurt, the 49ers are going to dare the Cardinals and Drew Stanton to beat them through the air. Why would they not?
Adrian Peterson is the only viable option to do anything with Palmer out, Fitzgerald is amazing but he can't throw the ball to himself. So, the 49ers sell out against the run, dare Stanton to win the game.
If this works, if the 49ers effectively neutralize Peterson, they've won half the battle.
As bad as the Cardinals offense has been, their defense has found a way to be worse. They are still stout against the run, but outside of Chandler Jones have zero pass rush. Add to that the only consistent cover man is Patrick Peterson, and the Cardinals players who were already going to be a problem, are just going to still be a problem.
If no one else on the Cardinals steps up their game, then the Cardinals are going to have the same advantages they had before the game started. That means Beathard plays his best game and whoever is not covered by Patrick Peterson is able to get open.
The Cardinals special teams are bad. So this doesn't change at all. If the Cardinals don't improve on special teams, then every team has the advantage as soon as the game starts. If it comes down to special teams play, well the 49ers are in a better position to win the game.