Arizona Cardinals (3-4 SU, 1-6 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-8 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 4:05PM EDT
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARI -2.5/SF +2.5
Over/Under Total: 39.5
In Sunday NFC West action, the Arizona Cardinals come to the Bay Area to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Neither team is really flying high, but the Cardinals have a chance to get to .500 with a win over a team that hasnt posted a victory yet this season. But coming off a 33-0 loss where they saw Carson Palmer go down doesnt paint the Cardinals in a good light. Maybe they figured something out over the bye week. San Francisco is winless, in the midst of a big rebuild where they have taken a step back over the last two weeks. On Sunday, they lost to the Eagles, 33-10, and are struggling to find foothold at the seasons midway point.
San Francisco has lost their last two games by a combined score of 73-20. Prior to that, their last five losses were decided by three or less points, which was an NFL record. Instability at the QB position has been a big part of it, as has a brutal string of costly injuries on both sides of the ball. QB Brian Hoyer was putting up decent numbers, but they wanted to see what CJ Beathard had and the results havent been very positive. Now, Hoyer isnt even on the team, as the Niners traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, who should start seeing some time behind center, just not this week. Again, guys getting hurt is a recurring theme and on Sunday, they lost their two tackles in Joe Staley and Garry Gilliam, with Trent Brown still dealing with a concussion. S Jimmie Ward is on IR now and promising rookie Solomon Thomas will also be out. And thats just the tip of the iceberg. For a team that already has a lot of issues, this has really been the final nail in their coffin. After being gritty and covering spreads, the Niners have become a very dicey proposition.
The 49ers offense was not up-to-par on Sunday and even against a Philly pass-defense that isnt very good, Beathard and the passing-game didnt get anywhere. Beathard threw two picks, including a pick-six on just 17-for-36 passing with 167 yards. A line dealing with injuries was getting run over. In the last two weeks, they have scored 20 total points and with a defense in a state of free-fall, thats how lopsided scores occur. There is some upside with the addition of Garoppolo, though he is not expected to be in-action this week.
The bulk of the heavy-hitters on this Frisco defense are on the injured list. They had some decent relief on Sunday, but there is no way that they have the depth to withstand all the losses. Its upsetting because it looked like recent high draft picks and some key additions had this D headed in the right direction. Through the first handful of games, even with injuries, they were improving and playing hard. But just about every rising youngster and key member of this unit is now either out-of-action or seriously banged-up.
The Cardinals have similar issues, especially on the injury-front. Losing David Johnson was a bad loss, but losing Palmer really puts their offense in a precarious spot. Longtime backup Drew Stanton has gone 6-3 in his 9 Arizona starts, but the Cardinals really need to dig deep now to salvage the season. On one hand, they have a chance to get to .500 this week. Some promise was added with Adrian Peterson joining the team. But to lose 33-0 to the Rams was a bad development. The bye was timely to let bodies heal and work some things out with Stanton.
Stantons numbers arent impressive and he has to be rusty, having not seen much action recently. But when put into action during his tenure with the Cardinals, he has manufactured some hard-earned victories. Still, the prospects of the Cardinals offense even with Palmer in there werent so great and now, well see what they come up with. Larry Fitzgerald, Jamon Brown, John Brown, JJ Nelson, and TE Jermaine Gresham are good weapons aerially. Stanton will have to make it work behind a dodgy line that hasnt been good and everyone will now need to over-perform.
Weve seen the Cardinals defense all over the place this season. They have been tight and resolute in spots. But in their last six quarters of play, theyve been very leaky and are heading in the wrong direction. The bye couldnt have come soon enough, as they were in a state of free-fall leading up to the break. With the losses on offense, they need to step up their game a few levels. A good place to start is the secondary where established assets like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu havent been great through seven games. Chandler Jones has been effective with eight sacks, but establishing another pass-rush source has been a problem. Especially now, they need to create more overall positivity and start making the kinds of plays that help the team. Lately, theyve been a detriment.
Just as you think the 49ers are in a bad spot and that going against them right now seems like the right move, you turn your attention to a depleted Cardinals team that might also be in the dumps. After all, San Francisco is within their division against a team with a lot of problems as a home dog. If you cant bet them here, when can you? I just see the problems the 49ers are facing as being deeper and more-disruptive, even if Arizonas losses are more-noticeable, losing their starting QB and their best offensive player in Johnson. Maybe Garoppolo can eventually get worked into the action and make Frisco better moving forward, but I see another tough one for San Fran this week.
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