With another big win under their belts, the 49ers return to facing the NFC West, as they will play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The rest of the 49ers schedule is packed with games against the NFC West, as the only 2 games left outside of the division are against the Ravens and Steelers. The Cardinals come into the game on a two game winning streak, after defeating St. Louis and Philadelphia. San Francisco is riding a 7 game winning streak; the team hasn’t lost since an overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys in week two.
Arizona isn’t sure at this point if Kevin Kolb with be ready to come back from his foot injury for this game, but at this point it seems like John Skelton has found a formula that works, so even if Kolb is ready I think that the Cardinals should stick with the hot hand. San Fran is hoping to have star running back Frank Gore back for the game. Gore left last week’s game against the Giants with a knee injury, but after practice on Thursday he said he felt he was ready to go. Arizona sports the 20th ranked offense in the league, while San Francisco is ranked 25th. Arizona will need to try and establish its passing attack early and let Skelton get into a rhythm to open up the defense. San Fran will go into this game as it has every other game this season and that means a heavy dose of running the ball. Frank Gore comes into the game needing 149 yards to pass Joe Perry for the most in team history.
Defensively Arizona sits near the bottom overall, they are ranked 26th in overall defense. San Francisco holds the 11th best defense, including being the best team against the rush this season, and they lead the league in turnovers as they are +13 in that category. This could be a long game for the Cardinals D especially if they can’t control the run game, and not just Gore either, as Kendall Hunter is also a big threat when Gore needs a breather. The 49ers will of course play hard nose defense and take away the run, but a lot will ride on how well they can control All Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
On paper this game looks like an easy win for the 49ers but don’t count the Cardinals out, they have found ways to win the past two weeks. Another test for the 49ers will be not to be caught looking ahead to their Thanksgiving Day game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Cardinals hope that the 49ers will be napping on them to spring a huge upset in front of the San Francisco faithful. I don’t think this will happen and the 49ers defense will keep the Cardinals from getting into the end zone very often and will win this game.
Final: S.F. 27- Arizona 13