San Francisco 49ers (0-3 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SF +7/ARI -7
Over/Under Total: 44
On Sunday in NFC West action, the San Francisco 49ers face division rivals the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale. The Niners are 0-3, but have been gritty in defeat, covering two out of three spreads and showing signs that they might not be the pushovers that some suspected. On Thursday, they lost to the LA Rams, 41-39, falling a two-point conversion short of tying a game where they had fallen far behind. The Cardinals, meanwhile, gave it a go on MNF against Dallas, before a bad fourth quarter led to a 28-17 loss. They still can make it 2-2 on the season in what seems like a winnable home spot this Sunday. Last season, the Cardinals beat the 49ers in both games, with a 12-point win in Frisco, along with just a three-point defeat in Glendale.
New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows this rebuilding project will take time to produce good results. But we see a team that has some good things in place. The players are showing a lot of drive and overall effort. Against the Rams, the offense was able to show some life, putting up 39 points after putting up a combined 12 points in their first two games. They also showed a winning attitude when coming from well off the pace to nearly beat the Rams, as Los Angeles needed a series of huge stops to stave off the big comeback effort.
After a few tough outings to start the season, Brian Hoyer needed a good showing on Thursday and he got it. It started off horribly, as his first pass was a pick and nearly returned for a touchdown. He settled down nicely and ended up with 332 yards and a couple of touchdown passes. Late, he was connecting well with Pierre Garcon, who gives them a presence in the pass-catching area that they have lacked for a few years. Marquise Goodwin was also big and delivered late with a few nice receptions. A new wrinkle seems to be developing with slot receiver Trent Taylor. And Carlos Hyde followed up his 124-yard showing the previous week against Seattle with a tough 84 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams. And the one part of their team that looks to have maintained some of its menace is the offensive line. How consistent this offense becomes is questionable, but lets just say their ceiling is a lot higher than it was the last few seasons.
The defense took a small step backwards in week three, after being quite respectable through the first two games of the young season. At times, the Rams road offense was having entirely too easy of a time in putting together scoring drives. Part of the problem is a secondary that is already mired in injury problems. Eric Reid will miss some time at safety and running-mate Jaquisti Tartt suffered what looks like a head injury that could jeopardize his immediate return, though we will wait and see. After losing a good rookie LB is Rueben Foster, San Fran can ill afford to lose what remaining good players they have. Still, they are getting good play in the middle with NaVorro Bowman and Ray Ray Taylor, though not so much against the Rams. And up-front, you see young talent starting to really come around, namely with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead. Again, they wont be dependable every week, but theyre not the group from last season, which had disintegrated to an almost unrecognizable state.
The Cardinals gave it a decent go on MNF, heading into the 4th quarter tied up with the Cowboys, 14-14. A late spurt by the Cowboys was fatal, as the Cardinals fall to 1-2. They can still even their mark this week in a winnable spot. After fading late at Detroit and coming back to beat the Colts in OT in two road games to start the season, the Cardinals didnt get the desired results in their home opener. Back at home, will they be able to get the win and cover against the Niners?
Maybe the Cardinals can find the right answers, but as of now, the run-game is going to be a shadow of what it was with David Johnson. We saw Carson Palmer try to make the most of it, as he threw for 325 yards on Monday. Larry Fitzgerald was tremendous with 13 catches for 149 yards and a score. Jaron Brown caught a touchdown and Jermaine Gresham and Andre Ellington were active. But the lack of a substantive run renders the offense somewhat one-dimensional. Carson Palmer is pretty deft in the pocket, but the O-line still was porous enough for him to get sacked seven times on Monday. Their lack of depth on the line has hurt them with guard Mike Iupati and tackle DJ Humphries missing time. With Johnson out, they need the rest of the offense to boost their production. Getting John Brown back could help, as he was missed against the Cowboys.
It wasnt a vintage defensive performance for the Cardinals on Monday, but giving up 28 to the Cowboys is no high-crime. Fading late with the game on the line wasnt a positive development, but for three quarters, they had the opposing offense somewhat subdued. Dallas was held for 2-for-9 on third downs and the pass-rush was good early in the game, with Marcus Golden and Chandler Jones both notching sacks. The secondary wasnt very good late and guys like Tyrann Mathieu are a lot better than they showed.
The Cardinals have seen a lot of things not go their way, so its a decent break that theyre a home-win over the winless 49ers away from being 2-2, something upon which they can build. But after getting a little extra break after really testing Seattle on the road and nearly beating a better Rams bunch last week, beating the Niners is no foregone conclusion and doing it by the margin this spread requires is even harder, but we see things lining up well for the Cardinals offensively this week, as we envision them getting the win and the cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Arizona Cardinals minus 7 points. Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Many are fly by night, poorly run and your loot is actually at risk. End that problem today by signing up at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! Online for over 15 years, your credit card will work and you’ll also receive a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE at Bovada Sportsbook!