San Francisco 49ers (1-7 SU, 1-7 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1 SU, 3-5 ATS)
NFL Football Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SF +13.5/ARI -13.5
Over/Under Total: 48.5
On Sunday afternoon in Glendale, the San Francisco 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals in NFC West action. Arizona is coming off the bye week, which followed a rough first half of the season where the Cardinals were just 3-4-1 to start the season. In their last game, they fell to the Panthers on the road, 30-20. It has been a bad start for a team many pegged to take the conference this season. They look for better results in the second-half of the season starting here with the roughed-up 49ers. On Sunday, the Niners lost 41-23 at home to the New Orleans Saints. Not only have they lost 7 straight games, but they havenít covered the spread once in that stretch.
There isnít much you can say positively about the 49ers at this point. Theyíve been competitive in a few spots, but the silver lining is not so easy to identify at this point. The defense is in shambles, ranked as the worst defense in the league. They canít stop the run if their lives depended on it and theyíve given up more points than any team in the league at an average of 32.5 points a game.
Against the Saints, the Niners were torched both on the ground and through the air. They gave up a big day to Tim Hightower and a gigantic day to Mark Ingram, who was over 150 yards with two touchdowns. To give up big performances to two different running backs only underlines their struggles in that area. And they were ragged in the air too, with Drew Brees having a big day.
If looking for a positive development, Colin Kaepernickís 398 yards passing would qualify. He threw for a pair of touchdowns, as the Niners scored as many points as they have since week two. They are struggling to run the ball and that has contributed in hanging their beleaguered defense out to dry. Seeing Kaepernick get more out of the SF passing game was promising, though it didnít lead to a win or even a cover, as they lost at home by 18 to a sub-.500 team.
For those who have had the misfortune of watching the 49ers in recent weeks, it might be hard to pull the trigger on them at this point. But their offensive production from last week, combined with the fact that theyíre within their division getting nearly two touchdowns against a 3-4-1 team isnít an altogether bad proposition. One has to figure theyíll cover the spread at some point. At the same time, it might not be enough. The Cardinals are not your average sub-.500 team, as they could still spring out of their doldrums, especially after a bye week where they had a chance to work on some things.
Arizona needs to take advantage of this situation. Getting back into the mix wonít be easy, with five of their next 7 games on the road following this home matchup. Itís not easy to describe the reasons for why the Cardinals havenít fired yet this season. The reasons are multiple. Carson Palmer had an injury issue to deal with, which disrupted his rhythm. His play at times this season has been shaky. The line has taken some lumps and has been off its peak form considerably, even if they have had some success in the run game. And the aerial game, which was powerful last season, hasnít approached that status this season. Yet.
The Cardinals are hoping to return to their old form on offense. Larry Fitzgerald has been good, but John Brown and Michael Floyd have been off the mark and hardly the constant contributors they were last season when the trio came close to all having 1000 yards. Theyíre also not getting as much from their tight ends. In fact, the lone shining point on this offense is second-year back David Johnson. He has run for 705 yards with 8 TDs, while tacking on 35 catches and over 400 yards through the air. They still will need to get the passing-game going if they hope to make a move in the second-half.
The Arizona defense hasnít been in all that bad of form. In fact, they are the top-ranked defense in yardage allowed, even if they havenít shined in all their games. Theyíre tough against the pass, with a bevy of capable defensive backs like Tony Jefferson, DJ Swearinger, Marcus Cooper, and of course, Patrick Peterson. The ďDĒ has secured 15 turnovers this season. While it hasnít been consistently applied, the pass-rush can also make a difference. Sure, they gave up 30 in a bad showing in their last game, but in the two previous games, they yielded a combined 9 points.
The point spread in this game is suggesting that the Cardinals are where they used to be. Or it could maybe be a testament on how bad the Niners have been and how difficult it has been to cover the spread for them. If the Niners were able to start fast, it could really put the Cardinals behind the 8-ball in terms of covering. But even if they donít, the number seems a bit on the big side. While itís not easy to do, Iím going with the 49ers and the points.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on the San Francisco 49ers plus 13.5 points.
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