The San Francisco 49ers will face the Arizona Cardinals for the second time this season. This time the game will be played in Arizona and the Niners will be without superstar LB Patrick Willis. Willis hurt his right hamstring last week during the game against the St. Louis Rams and is officially listed as doubtful for the game, but other sources declare it is a safe bet that he will be playing in Arizona. Niner fans should not panic because even without Willis for most of the game last week, the defense shutout the Rams on route to a 26-0 victory. I know that was against the Rams, but shutting out any professional team is a great feat to accomplish. Backup LB Larry Grant did a fabulous job stepping up and filling in for Willis. The defense will be fine without Patrick. Many Niner fans have agreed that sitting out Patrick is the right thing to do because we do not want our captain to risk further injury with the playoffs around the corner. Here are other keys points of the game:
QB Kevin Kolb
As we all know Kevin Kolb was not under center last time the Niners played the Cards. Kolb is by no means is an elite quarterback in the NFL, but he is a considerable upgrade from backup QB John Skelton. The dimension that Kolb brings is his scrambling ability, which Skelton does not have. Kolb does a great job avoiding sacks while keeping his eyes up field looking for any possible open targets. This means that the Niner defensive backs will have stay on their coverage longer than the previous game. Even though Kolb’s scrambling ability will be an aspect of the game to be aware about, I still believe the Niners front seven will be fast enough to prevent many scrambling opportunities. Kolb is going to have to do much of his work from the pocket.
The Niners offense was marching up and down the field throughout the duration their last meeting. The Niners were only up 9-0 going into halftime, but that was because K David Akers was having his worst game the season. Akers went 3/6 in his field goal attempts in the first half. The game could have simply been out of reach if Akers would have been more efficient. The final score was 23-7, after the Niners dominated virtually every statistic.
The Niners offense will have to step up their game in this second meeting versus the Cards. The Cards defense has played very well lately. This is most evident in their recent win against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cards held the Cowboys to only 13 points in the game. QB Alex Smith has been sacked second most in the NFL. Believe that the Cards will come with extra pressure in this rematch. The Cards defense should not give up more than 20 points in this game.
The Niners will win this game. The last time the Niners played the Cards I predicted it would be a close game and I was wrong. This time I will be right. The game will be a defensive struggle for the most part. But the Niners offense will do enough to score points to win the game. The final score 16-13. With RB Frank Gore having a big game and helping me win my first round game of the fantasy playoffs. Most importantly though it will be another Niner win and getting one step closer to a first round bye in the playoffs. Go Niners!!!!!!!!