With the San Francisco 49ers (3-7) trying to find their way back into the win column it won’t be easy in Week 13 as they face the No. 1 team in the NFC West in the Arizona Cardinals (8-2). Two teams who are going in opposite directions it’s the 49ers who will have their hands full on Sunday as they don their black alternate uniforms today.
Starting with the 49ers defense, it will be up to them to stop the Cardinals rushing attack. A performance that 49ers DE Quinton Dial called ‘embarrassing‘ as they allowed Seattle Seahawks undrafted rookie RB Thomas Rawls to rush for 209 yards on 30 carries it will be up to the 49ers outside linebackers to set the tone on the edge.
When reviewing the game-film it appears on the surface that OLB Ahmad Brooks was caught up getting up-field a little too eagerly allowing Rawls a free reign to choose his running lanes on the A and B gaps. If Brooks and the other outside linebackers can maintain gap integrity under DC Eric Mangini’s 3-4 scheme that would boost the 49ers rushing defense while keeping RB Chris Johnson at bay.
If the 49ers can contain Johnson in the backfield, they can then turn their focus to the Cardinals passing attack led by QB Carson Palmer.
Palmer who has been having a career-season thus far as he’s thrown for 27 touchdowns against nine interceptions, should fare well against a suspect 49ers secondary. Look for Palmer to find ageless wonder WR Larry Fitzgerald early and often as the two hook up for at least one touchdown when it’s all said and done.
With the 49ers having their hands full on the defensive side of the ball, it will be their offense that will need to keep up as they need to score touchdowns not field-goals.
Last week saw 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert remain calm, cool, and collected in Seattle so expect a similar performance at home as he readies himself for his third consecutive start of the 2015 season. Look for Gabbert to rally the offense as he finishes with a stat line around 18 for 28 for 250 passing yards and two touchdowns.
With the 49ers playing for pride, expect them to keep it close but ultimately lose in the end to the better team, as the Cardinals win 24-20.
Sakamoto: 30-12 (Over/Under)
With the total points set at 46, I would slightly take the over. A game in which I foresee a defensive struggle early on, it will be the Cardinals who turn it on offensively in the second and third quarters while the 49ers play catch-up.
Sakamoto: 24-18 (ATS)
With the 49ers being -9.5 point underdogs, I would take the 49ers. A game in which I can see the Cardinals winning in convincing fashion, it can easily turn into a trap game as the 49ers cover the spread at home in their alternate black uniforms.
Fantasy Football (45/131)
As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
RB Chris Johnson
RB Shaun Draughn
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