Week 9 vs. Arizona Cardinals
By this point in the season, who knows what quarterback Carson Palmer’s bill of health will look like.
Arizona is also making some transitions on defense, as covered before, but it’s very possible this will be an up-and-down year, defensively. At home, the Cardinals had little problem dispatching the Niners early in the season.
San Francisco stands a much better chance at home. But the Cardinals are also coming off a bye week, and they should be rested and prepared enough to offset any 49ers home-field advantage.
This will be a close game.
Why Arizona Wins
Arizona wins this game if Palmer is healthy enough and playing well. This game might resemble something like the Cardinals’ 19-13 win over the 49ers back in Week 12 of the 2016 season — a low-scoring affair with Arizona coming out on top in the end.
And those young components within the Cardinals defense start to truly reveal themselves.
Why San Francisco Wins
The 49ers have to take running back David Johnson out of the picture — something they haven’t been able to do well enough since he became one of the more well-known backs in the league.
Banking on Palmer’s health won’t be enough. Remember, the Niners lost to backup QB Drew Stanton a year ago. So that means tiring down the Cardinals defense over the course of 60 minutes.
Yes, the ground game has to be a factor for the Niners here.