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What2Watch4: 49ers @ Cards

Here’s the thing: In the Jim Harbaugh Era (2011 – 2014), the Cardinals were 2-6 against the San Francisco 49ers. No one should be happier than us that Harbaugh is off to Ann Arbor and a host of 49er greats and near-greats left with him. Jim Tomsula arrives with a new cast of characters and Colin Kaepernick.

 

49er Pass Offense vs. Cards Pass Defense

Remember when Vernon Davis had 180 yards against this team a couple years ago? That wasn't great.

Remember when Vernon Davis had 180 yards against this team a couple years ago? That wasn’t great.

James Bettcher has made a choice to keep the passing game largely in front of his defense. That’s probably good thing, because Kaepernick has had this defense’s number the last three seasons, putting up a 106.2 passer rating in five starts with 9 TDs against one INT. Patrick Peterson should be able to contain Anquan Boldin, but he may instead be deployed on Torrey Smith.

Advantage: San Francisco

 

49er Rush Offense vs. Cards Rush Defense

Despite the 144 yards Frank Gore put up against the Cards last year, Arizona has done a good job of defending the San Francisco rushing attack. Carlos Hyde is the bell-cow now, and he struggled against a 3-4 defense in Pittsburgh last week.

Advantage: Arizona

 

Cards Pass Offense vs. 49er Pass Defense

Quick: Name two members of the current San Francisco secondary. Without a true pass rush threat or lockdown corner, this passing defense got torched by Pittsburgh. San Francisco defensive coordinator Eric Mangini prefers not to blitz; I’ll take my chances with Carson Palmer.

Advantage: Arizona

Junk time is Stepfan Taylor time.

Junk time is Stepfan Taylor time.

 

Cards Rush Offense vs. 49er Rush Defense

San Francisco stymied Adrian Peterson at home in a misfit offensive system and then allowed DeAngelo Williams to score 3 touchdowns. This offense is not designed to grind out yards at the end of games — is it possible we’ll see Stepfan Taylor kill some clock?

Advantage: Arizona

 

Special Teams

Phil Dawson is a pretty steady-Eddie, while Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point last week. Good teams get upset when things like blocked punts happen. The Cards offense needs to negate special teams as a factor in this game.

Advantage: San Francisco

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 20, Arizona Cardinals 35

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