Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Date and Time: Thursday, October 6, 2016, 8:25 p.m. ET .
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Cardinals vs. 49ers TV Coverage: CBS
The Cardinals went into last week’s game against the Rams +165 underdogs to win the NFC West. They sat only behind the Seahawks in the pecking order, but after losing 17-13 in shocking fashion as 10 point favorites, Arizona now brings up the rear of the division and has a ton of work to do if it’s to not allow the season to get away from them.
The offense has been way too inconsistent with it only scoring in the teens the last two weeks, while the defense has also given up a number of big plays. Most troubling has been the turnovers due in large part to an ineffective starting quarterback. Palmer was wretched in the NFC title game, and that poor play has carried over to 2016 with him tossing five interceptions the last two weeks.
A month ago, the 49ers simply destroyed the division rival Rams 28-0 in front of a nationally televised audience. After that, san Francisco got buried on the road at Carolina and Seattle. They then returned home in Week 4 to host the Cowboys and got out to a great 14-0 start, but ran out of gas soon after and incurred their third straight loss and non-cover.
While the Niners have a ton of work to do to once again turn into a dominant force within the NFC, the franchise looks to have taken some steps in the right direction under the new coaching staff. As you’d expect, most of the progress has occurred on the offensive side of the ball with Blaine Gabbert and company possessing the No. 15 ranked scoring offense. Still, it’s been ugly defensively with it conceding 390 total yards per game and a 13.6 yard per point average.
Matchup to Watch
David Johnson is yet to have a 100-yard game rushing this season. While some of the reason for that has to do with game flow, it’s mostly due to running up against defenses ranked amongst the top-15 in defending the run.
That won’t be the case this week with the 49ers conceding 122.7 yards per game (No. 23) at 4.0 yards per carry (No. 20). It just surrendered 138 yards and a touchdown to rookie Ezekiel Elliott, and the previous week, allowed Christine Michael to go for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
With Palmer’s availability for this one in question and Arians forced to go with Drew Stanton if he’s a no go, Johnson will play a key role in how this game plays out.
Cardinals vs. 49ers Free Picks
Though Arizona has won and covered the closing odds at BookMaker.eu in three of the last four battles between these division rivals, it’s had all kinds of issues disposing of the Niners in San Francisco. It eked out a 19-13 win and non-cover last season, but before that, dropped six straight and only managed a pair of covers in those contests.
That said, it’s very important to keep track of NaVorro Bowman’s availability for this game. Once he departed in the second half against Dallas, the Cowboys were able to eat the Niners up on the ground. If he’s a no go as expected with him possibly tearing his Achilles, fire up the Cardinals who will look to pound the rock with Johnson until the cows come home.
Cardinals vs. 49ers ATS Pick: Cardinals - at BookMaker.eu
Cardinals vs. 49ers Score Prediction: Cardinals 24 – 49ers 13