San Francisco 49ers training camp has begun! It’s time for us 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 and will see what kind of prediction this provides at the end.
Week 1 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2 @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 5 vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 6 @ Los Angeles Rams
Week 7 @ Washington
Week 8 vs. Carolina Panthers
In Week 9 the 49ers begin a gauntlet of divisional opponents, starting with a road trip to face the Arizona Cardinals. You can read our opponent preview to see what the Cardinals have been up to. The Cardinals picked first in the 2019 NFL Draft. This means either a team suffered a bevy of injuries or just plain stunk. The Cardinals were the latter, winning only three games. One was against the Green Bay Packers and cost Mike McCarthy his job, and the other two were against the San Francisco 49ers.
That’s right, and the 49ers couldn’t beat what may have been the worst team in the league. If you were not privy to witness this sort of personal torture, consider yourself lucky. It sounds like an awful two hours, that’s because it was. Both games were boring for about three quarters until the end when some craziness happens that secured the win for Arizona.
This is one of those games you say “Yep,” but given the 49ers’ past history, we can’t write off the Cardinals.
Reason for: Cardinals offensive line
The 49ers’ defensive line has been impressive so far in training camp. While it’s only the first few days (which is when the defenses are performing better than offense), there’s been nothing but good things coming from those reporting on it on how nasty this line can be.
The first of the Cardinals’ two first-round quarterback picks in two years was Josh Rosen, who took 45 sacks in 2019. Heading into Week 16, this line was ranked dead last by Pro Football Focus in 2018. So what did the Cardinals do to address this? Grabbing J.R. Sweezy in free agency and burning a sixth and seventh-round pick on linemen. That’s not going to fix your issues. Not in a year at least.
Heading into 2019, PFF has the Cardinals offensive line ranked 30th. The same issues Rosen had as a quarterback are going to hit Murray. It can’t be overstated how a bad offensive line can be detrimental to a young quarterback’s development. The phantom pressure, happy feet—all of it can hinder development.
Well, you put Murray behind this line, and have a defensive line like the 49ers that could be in the top-10 for 2019? Maybe they get to Murray before Larry Fitzgerald’s heroics ruin our lives once again.
Reason against: It’s the [site-decorum] Cardinals
Look, I know the 49ers stunk last year, but I still don’t get how they lost to the Cardinals twice, and I’m guessing the Cardinals don’t know how they won those games either. The 49ers did manage to beat the Seattle Seahawks in a game that was the season highlight for 49ers fans and embarrassment for the Seahawks.
But the Cardinals, the 49ers can’t beat the Cardinals. Every heartbreak occurs in the final minutes. Or a bad snap. Or both. That happens, and we’re left alone, empty, with only a slice of pizza left to devour in our living rooms.
On paper, the Cardinals have a long way to go, and the 49ers should beat them handily. The Cardinals are a divisional opponent, so it’s never that easy. Kyler Murray has also been getting some praise at camp and he either will be surprising teams with his relative inexperience in the league or beginning those rookie QB regressions we all know and love.
The Cardinals have always caused problems for a variety of reasons. I’m not pinning it on anything other than the Cardinals have owned the 49ers for the last two years, and some power may just keep that tradition going.
At least the 49ers got Bosa.
What will happen in Week 9 vs. Cardinals?
This poll is closed