A big NFC West showdown kicks off during the 4:00 hour of Week 3 NFL action as Colin Kaepernick brings his Niners squad to Arizona to take on a Cardinals team that looks primed for big things in 2015. Carson Palmer and his prolific offense have been awesome so far early this year, and they look primed to really compete for the divisional crown this season. Let’s not forget last year they were simply rolling, until an injury to their starting QB derailed their chances. This year, it’s a new hope in Arizona and the Cards look poised to do great things. On the other side, the Niners turned in a big opening week victory against the Vikings to kick off their campaign, but reverted to old habits last week as they got demolished by the Steelers. Their vaunted defense struggled mightily, and this team remains inconsistent and a plagued by question marks at key positions. It’s a game with two teams going in opposite directions, and read on below to see if the Cards can continue their dominance in a key divisional showdown.
49ers vs. Cardinals Betting Odds:
San Francisco 49ers +6.5 (-105)
@ Arizona Cardinals -6.5 (-115)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
49ers vs. Cardinals Pick:
Despite recent history, it is apparent that the Niners have taken a huge step back in 2015 and have officially entered one of those transitional or rebuilding phases. They’ve lost too much on defense, and Colin Kaepernick isn’t showing any of the skills he displayed a couple of years ago. He looks misguided under a new coaching staff and a new offense, and he could be in for a long day against a pretty ferocious Cardinals’ defensive front and their rabid home fans.
Last week the Niners really struggled against a bad Steelers’ defense, so you can imagine the limited success they’ll have this week. The points they did score came mostly in garbage time when the game was out of reach, and if Kaepernick thinks he can throw all over this Cards’ secondary, he is sadly mistaken. The Cardinals were excellent last week against the Bears’ quarterbacks and did a great job at limiting the talented Matt Forte. Carlos Hyde has gotten off to a solid start this year, but should be brought back down to Earth this week against Arizona’s front. Hyde is also dealing with a thigh injury that could limit his effectiveness and/or snaps he receives. That’d be awful news for the Niners and essentially force them to become one-dimensional and force Kaepernick to beat Arizona only through the air. The Cards’ secondary is as good as they come, and their pass rush should be all over a 49ers offensive line with no Mike Iupati or Anthony Davis. Don’t expect much of anything from the Niners’ offense on Sunday.
For the Cardinals’ offense, they’ve looked awesome so far this season. And while it should be noted that much of their success has come vs. Chicago and New Orleans, it’s not like the 49ers are much better. Pittsburgh completely dominated and exposed this defense, and that was without a capable running back and a key wideout in Martavis Bryant. Arizona has a balanced attack and Carson Palmer should face limited resistance in moving the chains come Sunday. The Niners’ secondary is badly depleted and there is simply no push up front with personnel changes and injuries. Palmer is going to get a ton of time in the pocket and should be able to routinely find Fitzgerald and Brown with ease.
For all of the times over the past few years the Niners have beaten up on the Cardinals, look for Arizona to serve up a full serving of revenge in Week 3. The Cardinals are trending up and are poised for great things in 2015, while their rivals from San Francisco look to be heading straight for the NFC West basement. The Cardinals are simply a much better team right now in every single area, and they are a terrific home team. Arizona head coach Bruce Arians enters this match-up with a stellar 24-10-1 record against the spread since he joined the Cards, and look for him to improve on that record on Sunday.
PICK = Cardinals -6.5 (-115)