When the Arizona Cardinals have match up again with NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, here are five matchups to watch:
John Wetzel, OT, #73 vs. Ahmad Brooks, OLB, #55 All eyes will be on the undrafted rookie tackle stepping into the shoes of Arizona’s best lineman in the injured Jared Veldheer. Brooks is a 10-year NFL veteran and will use all his tricks to generate pressure.
Marcus Cooper, CB, #41 vs. Jeremy Kerley, WR, #14 Torrey Smith drew Patrick Peterson’s attention in the last matchup, and Kerley responded with his best day of the season (108 yards, 1 TD). Kerley leads San Francisco in targets and receptions, while Cooper’s season has been up and down.
J.J. Nelson, WR, #14 vs. Jimmie Ward, CB, #25 I believe Bruce Arians when he says that Nelson has ascended to the #2 receiver position. The 49ers are not good against #1 WRs (32nd in DVOA, in fact) but are more effective against other types of receivers. Nelson needs to help this offense get untracked.
Tony Jefferson, S, #22 vs. Colin Kaepernick, QB, #7 The Cardinals broke Kaepernick for good last season, but Tyrann Mathieu swung the hammer. Jefferson has taken up much of the slack in the No Fly Zone, but has yet to produce big plays. This is his chance.
Michael Floyd, WR, #15 vs. Tremaine Brock, CB, #26 San Francisco’s defense is last in the NFL against deep passes by DVOA. Carson Palmer is standing by Floyd during this mercurial contract year. It’s time for Floyd to start justifying the faith of his remaining fans.