It’s 12 days until 49ers training camp-week begins! We want to look at each opponent and provide a reason for and against the 49ers beating them. We’ve included a poll for the community to vote on whether they expect a win or a loss. We’ll see what kind of prediction this provides at the end.
The 49ers will do their first of two games against the Arizona Cardinals. This one is the home version and If there’s any team I have faith in the 49ers beating, especially in Week 5, it’s the Cardinals. I do think they had an excellent draft and are positioned to be a thorn in the 49ers’ side in a year or two once these picks pan out, but as it is, the roster has been gutted. Larry Fitzgerald may be playing his last season and David Johnson may feel the effects of that offensive line.
Reason For: The Cardinals offensive line
As questionable as the 49ers pass rush is, I’d like to think that it’s improved somewhat since 2017 now that Robert Saleh’s system has had a year to marinate and the line has had a year to gel.
I can’t say the same about the Cardinals offensive line which grabbed Justin Pugh in free agency along with Mason Cole early on and Korey Cunningham at the tail end of the 2018 NFL draft. That’s not enough to help that line. At least at this point. Cole and Cunningham will need a season, or at least half of one to get things down and Pugh can’t hold things down himself. Last year, the 49ers got to the Cardinals backfield just before the ball was zipped away, this year the Cardinals have Sam Bradford doing the zipping—and he may not even be playing by then, it’s Josh Rosen. And a rookie quarterback behind that line? That looks like tons of issues this early in the season.
Reason Against: Injuries. Lots of injuries. Lots of hypothetical injuries
If the 49ers conditioning program isn’t up to snuff and half the starting lineup is out by Week 4, it could indicate something much larger, but that’s really the only way I see the 49ers losing this game. The fact it’s a home game, and the Cardinals are in a huge developmental season gives me reason to think this might be over by the end of the half. There is of course the chance that David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or both go off and their play leads to a competitive game, but even with their combined efforts, I don’t think the Cardinals can beat this 49ers squad as-is. Now if the injuries pile on and the aforementioned Johnson/Fitzgerald combo can break out, the Cardinals are winning, but that’s only if there are injuries.
If you can’t see the poll, click here.
What will happen in Week 4 against the Cardinals?
This poll is closed