No. 5: Running Back Matt Breida
Matt Breida has dealt with more than a few injuries this season, although he’s seemingly bounced back from every one of them.
San Francisco 49ers
One could argue it’s a good idea head coach Kyle Shanahan shuts Breida down for the rest of the season, therefore avoiding any serious injury that could happen any week. But with Breida trying to establish himself as a legitimate option in Shanahan’s ground attack, it seems unlikely that happens at any point soon.
Although Breida is likely to be on a proverbial “pitch count,” of sorts.
But what makes Breida a key X-factor for this contest is just how bad the Cardinals have been against the run this season. On the year, no other team than Arizona has given up more rush yards (1,038). That number is somewhat skewed by the fact the Cardinals have been trailing a lot in games, mandating their opponents using the ground attack to chew up clock late in games.
Arizona is still allowing 4.4 yards per carry, however, which ranks 18th in the NFL. There’s easily an opportunity for Breida, Raheem Mostert and Alfred Morris to take command of the game on the ground.
The Cardinals have given up over 100 yards in six of their seven games this season. In three of those six games, the defense has allowed over 150 yards.
Look for Breida and San Francisco’s rushing attack to have a major output on Sunday.