San Francisco 49ers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date and Time: September 21, @ 4:05 PM E
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
TV: Fox, DirectTV
by Jeff Hochman, Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: SF -1/ARZ +1
Over/Under Total: 43
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Fresh off an embarrassing meltdown, the San Francisco 49ers try to rebound against the division leading Arizona Cardinals. This is a huge game for the road team as they can’t afford to fall two games back of the NFC West leader. Arizona defeated the NY Giants 25-14 as 1-point road underdogs. The early start time was no problem for the Cardinals, however they were outgained by 75 yards. Drew Stanton started for the injured Carson Palmer and did just enough to help complement a dominant running attack. Arizona rushed for 124 yards while the Giants could muster just 81 yards on the ground. San Francisco lost a tough one last Sunday night. The Bears came all the way back to win 28-20 as 7-point road dogs. You might say the Bears were rather fortunate to win that game as they were outgained by a whopping 145 yards.
The big question we need to answer is—Will Carson Palmer start for the Cardinals in this game? It will be a game time decision. Palmer has a bruised nerve in his shoulder and that’s a dicey situation for any quarterback. I don’t see him playing and even if he does, how effective will he be with very little practice time. I don’t have much faith in Drew Stanton against a solid defense that is coming off an embarrassing fourth quarter debacle. The 49ers outgained the Bears 197-93 in the first half and looked to be on their way to an easy win. It wasn’t meant to be as 16 penalties and two costly turnovers sealed their fate. Colin Kaepernick deserves some of the blame for his performance in the final quarter. He was sacked three times and threw interceptions on consecutive drives. Look for the 49ers to use more of Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde in this game. The Cardinals haven’t faced a Top 8 offensive line yet. That will come to end when the 49ers will bring its 8th ranked unit to this game. Expect a big bounce back from Colin and company on offense.
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I think fatigue played a big factor in the 49ers collapse. They took a big lead in their season opener against the Dallas Cowboys before failing to score in the entire second half. In that game, they managed to escape with a win. The public might look at how the 49ers have played in their first two games and look to fade them. I am not so sure that’s the right thing to do. Motivation is huge in sports. The way the 49ers lost that game is not typical of a well-coached team. I think you will see this team come out on a mission and be a lot more physical at the line of scrimmage. Arizona’s defense struggled against the passing attack of Eli Manning and the Giants, allowing 277 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind the Giants are learning a brand new offense so those stats are pretty discouraging for Cardinals’ fans. I like the Cardinals team this year, but not with a huge question mark at the quarterback position. I think Vernon Davis will have a huge day as the Cardinals are having trouble defending elite tight ends. They allowed the 10th most yards to tight ends last season and that was with a healthy Darnell Dockett.
The Cardinals are just 2-8 straight up against the NFC West since 2012. They are going need a big day from its pass rush early. Last week, Colin Kaepernick was pressured early and had to release his throws much earlier than he wanted too. These two teams are very familiar with each other and that will favor the more “hungrier” team if you will. The 49ers are 9-1 SU against the Cardinals of late. San Francisco has swept the Cardinals in two straight seasons, so you might say they have Arizona’s number.
The Cardinals are 1-5 ATS in their last six games in Week 3. The 49ers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 meetings. The Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: San Francisco 49ers -1
I like the 49ers to bounce back after last Sunday night’s meltdown. The Cardinals played on the East Coast and will travel back home while the 49ers won’t have to travel as far. Light play on the road chalk.