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49ers-Cardinals preview: Carson Palmer and Chris Johnson are the names that pay in Week 4

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The 49ers and Cardinals square off on Sunday, and we chatted with Revenge of the Birds about Arizona offense.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers travel south to face the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday, in a divisional matchup that could give one of these teams a modest leg up. The 49ers are 0-3, but getting a road division win in what is looking like a pretty bad NFC West would be kind of a big deal. Meanwhile, Arizona is tied for second with Seattle and can’t afford a home divisional loss.

Earlier this week, we sat down with Revenge of the Birds site manager Seth Cox to talk about the state of the Cardinals heading into this Week 4 matchup. The Cardinals are 1-2, with their only win a road comeback over the awful Indianapolis Colts. Arizona has some serious questions, and we started with a discussion about the offense.

David Johnson is out for the next couple months, and if things go south for Arizona, could get shut down for the season. The Cardinals initially gave Kerwynn Williams the starting opportunity, but Chris Johnson has since emerged in his fourth or fifth iteration in the NFL. Seth offered some thoughts on the state of the Cardinals run game, and what they need from it this weekend.

It has been a committee of players trying and failing to replace David Johnson. Through two games Chris Johnson has the most carries, 23, for 61 yards rushing, or a 2.7 yards per carry average. Kerwynn Williams got the first crack at being the main running back, he had 11 carries against the Colts for 20 yards. He had one carry for three yards, on a Wildcat, against the Cowboys. The only player who has done anything similar to David Johnson, is Andre Ellington as a receiver out of the backfield.

So, do they need much from their running game to win games? Not really, because they are unlikely to get it, combined with how poor the run blocking has been. Of course, when you have one win, you can't really identify what is needed to win games quite yet.

Given the run game struggles, the offense will rely heavily on Carson Palmer and the passing game. But does Palmer have much left in the tank? I asked Seth if he did, and this is what he had to say.

After the first seven quarters of the season I would have said no, but after the last five, he is fine. The offensive line does him no favors, and as 49ers fans know, he's not exactly a mobile guy, but he has looked good the fourth quarter of the Indianapolis game and he played well enough to get a win against the Cowboys. He doesn't have the same arm he did a couple of years ago, and he forgets that, which can get him into trouble. Nevertheless, he's not only the best option the Cardinals have, he put them in a position to be successful the last two games.

What do I expect the rest of the way? Honestly, if he can just stay healthy with the beating he has taken behind the offensive line, that will be a win. If he consistently plays like he did last week, maybe not the volume of yards, but the efficiency and no turnovers, the Cardinals will be in games. The rest is up to the rest of the team if they win them.