The 49ers are not one of the worst teams in the NFL. Underachieving and below average, but not one of the worst. They just make dumb mistakes that cost them dearly. If they can limit those mistakes and actually not fall apart in the first quarter, they can beat the Cardinals with little trouble.
That’s asking a lot.
The 49ers will win if
They don’t create turnovers. The biggest achilles heel of this team has been protecting the football. The 49ers are a much better football team than the Cardinals on paper, but their (yes, it’s a group effort here) inability to protect the football is causing a multitude of mistakes. They have the worst turnover differential in the league at minus-15
The C.J. Beathard of Monday Night Football will need to show up here as well and ball up. If the Beathard of last Sunday materializes thanks to the transformative properties of his offensive line and opposing defenses--and his ability to hold onto the ball like it’s his precious--the 49ers are done. Beathard needs to turn into Development Beathard, Take-No-Prisoners Beathard. Not pick-city Beathard.
The 49ers will lose if
The defense can’t get their assignments right. In the last Cardinals game, it took a blown assignment on the first play to give the Cardinals seven points. It’s still a question as to why the players are blowing assignments, but we’ll go with the youth excuse.
Plus, this is the Cardinals offense, which is terrible. That means the 49ers defense needs to generate turnovers. The Cardinals defense is not near as bad as you may want to believe, so the 49ers need to make their chances count. That means getting turnovers on the 50 yard line and turning those into points. You know, like the Los Angeles Rams did last week.