No. 3: 49ers’ DeForest Buckner vs. Cardinals Offensive Line
Like the 49ers, the Cardinals also have their own problems along the offensive line.
Injuries and attrition have also beset Arizona here, and it’s clear the patchwork combination of blockers has created problems that eventually led to veteran quarterback Carson Palmer’s arm injury.
In total, the Cardinals have surrendered 24 sacks — tied for seventh in the NFL. The Niners have allowed more (27), but this is a particular matchup that should bode well for San Francisco’s front seven.
Key in the equation here is second-year defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who is the fifth-highest interior defender, ranked by Pro Football Focus. And you can see why this matchup is important for the 49ers and Buckner:
Buckner will be working primarily against Cardinals left guard Alex Boone and center A.Q. Shipley.
Considering the Cardinals gave up a whopping six sacks the last time these two teams met, this particular matchup is one Buckner and the Niners defensive front should be able to exploit.