The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals are both fighting tooth and nail to climb atop the NFC West standings. A battle of two 1-3 teams, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top, since both teams will be without key players.
On one side, the Cardinals will be without their starting quarterback as QB Carson Palmer has been ruled ‘OUT’ with a concussion, while the 49ers will be without their defensive leader in ILB NaVorro Bowman (Achilles).
So the question remains, who will win?
While the 49ers look to get back in the win column, I don’t foresee that happening as they have yet to tighten up their run defense.
A unit that has allowed a whopping 562 rushing yards while ranking dead last via four games, it’s no wonder the 49ers boast a 1-3 record. Combine that with the loss of rookie first-round pick (No. 7) DE DeForest Buckner, and the bad news continues, as the 49ers defense appears suspect at best.
Buckner has been dealing with a foot injury and has been ruled ‘OUT,’ this week. That means more reps for DE Glenn Dorsey and rookie fifth-round pick DE Ronald Blair. The Appalachian State product told me yesterday that he has been seeing his lion share of the reps at defensive end, so look for Blair to get an increased role this time around.
While Blair will likely get more reps despite being a rookie, look for another rookie to continue getting his earned ‘PT,’ (playing time) as fourth-round pick (No. 133) CB Rashard Robinson looks the part of a promising draft day steal.
Filling in for DB Jimmie Ward, Robinson received the starting nod last week from the coaching staff, and did not disappoint, recording a career and team-high 3 pass break-ups. The Cardinals offense is predicated on using their big bodied wide receivers; WR Larry Fitzgerald and WR Michael Floyd so no question, Robinson will once again get the start this week.
How that will translate on the football field is anyone’s guess. Fitzgerald is a very savvy route-runner and so is Floyd, so if anything, this will be a good gauge to see how the LSU rookie stacks up.
While the 49ers defense looks to stack the box facing Cardinals RB David Johnson, look for the team’s offense to move the chains with a balanced attack.
The 49ers offensive line continues to be a lone bright spot on the team. Led by bookend tackles LT Joe Staley and RT Trent Brown, the two continue to be the team’s rocks on the outside. The same can’t be said of the team’s passing attack as they rank dead last in that category.
Think that will improve against a stingy Cardinals secondary that ranks No. 7 in the NFL while only allowing 6.4 yards per attempt? I don’t think so.
Last year, Cardinals FS Tyrann Mathieu called the 49ers passing game ‘simplified.’ He was right as he recorded not one but two interceptions on the day. To think things will change drastically with QB Blaine Gabbert at the helm is being naive. Simply put, the 49ers just don’t have the horses to keep up on both sides of the ball.
In the end, I can’t help but think that the Cardinals will easily cover the spread despite having QB Drew Stanton as the starter. A 49ers rush defense that ranks dead last in the NFL, it really doesn’t matter who the opposing quarterback is behind center, if all the other team needs to do is play smash-mouth football while winning the time of possession.
Until the 49ers defense can prove their worth in stopping the run, I have to take the Cardinals as they win 23-17.
Sakamoto: 35-16 (Over/Under)
With the total points set at 42, I would take the under.
Sakamoto: 31-20 (ATS)
With the 49ers being -3.5 point underdogs, I’m rolling with the Cardinals. Until the 49ers run defense can show signs of life, it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is on the opposite side.
Fantasy Football (54/155)
2016: 7 of 12
As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks:
RB David Johnson
WR Larry Fitzgerald
WR Michael Floyd
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