Week nine for the San Francisco 49ers matches them up with the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers will travel to Glendale with the hopes of, not only staying undefeated, but ending a streak. The Cardinals have won the last eight games against the 49ers, something that Kyle Shanahan and his team will want to break.
Considering the disparage between the teams, the 49ers have a good shot to do so. There is also the pressure of continuing to win for playoff seeding. As great as the 49ers have been, they have yet to runaway from the pack. The Packers and Saints, even the Seahawks are not far off from this team record wise. They are the heavy favorites (-10) in this game after all.
However, the Cardinals are not a team to be overlooked. Contrary to popular belief, Arizona doesn't lie down to teams. It may have looked like that last Sunday for them, but against the Saints in New Orleans is a tough deal. There is a bit of an advantage for the Cardinals in this game and it is due to the fact they are on playing on Thursday night. The less rest and preparation for the 49ers the better.
Arizona would have had zero chance of upsetting the 49ers had this been a regular Sunday game. Now I know the short week effects both teams equally, but giving the 49ers less time to gameplan behooves the Cardinals much more than the 49ers. Plus, the Cardinals are hosting this divisional matchup, so this won't be a blowout for the 49ers like how they did to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday.
For the 49ers, the main key of this game is keeping Kyler Murray in check. His ability to the run the ball puts him as a dual threat quarterbacks who are tough to defense. You just never know if they are going to take off with the ball or end up throwing it. The 49ers job should be take away his ability to run by rendering it useless with exceptional linebacker play and setting the edge.
If they minimize or eliminate his ability as a dual threat, then this game will instantly be the 49ers. Arizona will be without running backs Chase Edmonds and David Johnson, so newly acquire Kenyan Drake will take the helm. A good chunk of production is now missing for the Cardinals. Kyler Murray is going to have to do it all if they want any shot of winning.
However, I sincerely doubt he'll be able to do so against this defense. He surely won't be able to get into a shootout with 49ers since they're going to be lighting up the Cardinals defense. Vance Joseph is just an inept coordinator. Kyle Shanahan should have no problem running circles. The Cardinals won't lie down in this game, but they surely won't hand the 49ers their first loss.