The San Francisco 49ers will resume their NFC West rivalry with the Arizona Cardinals this week at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 4:05 PM. ET.
Last week, the 49ers were blown out by the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was surprising considering how well they played against the Minnesota Vikings in their season opener. Their secondary was exploited on numerous occasions by Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger, who hooked up for 195 yards and 1 touchdown.
The 49ers run defense, which held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards was also exploited by DeAngelo Williams, who finished the game with 77 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.
Arizona, on the other hand, is 2-0, and currently leads the NFC West. They defeated the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears in the first two weeks and have a chance to extend their division lead against the 49ers.
Most of Arizona’s success is due to their offense which has Carson Palmer back in the lineup after suffering a season-ending injury at the end of last season. So far, Palmer has thrown for 492 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
Despite the success they are having with their offense, the Cardinals still have a lot of work to do defensively. In the previous two seasons, the Cardinals have created an identity as a defensive team, and it helped them become a better team. This season, the Cardinals have struggled defensively, especially against the pass.
Going into this game, San Francisco has to figure out a way to finish drives without shooting themselves in the foot with penalties. It worked out for them in the game against Minnesota, but not so much when they played the Steelers.
Colin Kaepernick has looked good so far this season and has taken care of the ball, which is something he didn’t do very well last year. He will need to get his team in the end zone early in this game, so they don’t have to try and come from behind like they tried to do against Pittsburgh, because their offense isn’t built that way.
The 49ers will feed Carlos Hyde the ball as much as possible, but it might not be a very sound strategy because the Cardinals have the 10th best rush defense in the league. Their best bet will be to air it out and try to find a weakness in the Arizona secondary.
The Cardinals find themselves in a similar situation as San Francisco. T hey won’t be able to run the ball effectively against the 49ers run defense because the 49ers have the 6th best rush defense in the league. They will likely take a page out of Pittsburgh’s playbook, and attack San Francisco’s secondary, which looked confused quite often last week.
Cardinals vs 49ers Week 3 Betting Lines
This is a rivalry game, and for the most part, it is always a close game. The smart play will be to take the under on the points, if you want to take the points, safest bet will be the Cardinals by seven.
Play: Under 44 @ BetOnline.ag