5 teams that could have 49ers-like turnaround in 2020
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: Arizona Cardinals
2019 Record: 5-10-1
The Arizona Cardinals should worry 49ers fans.
Last year, the 49ers had their hands full in both NFC West games, narrowly holding on a desperate fourth-quarter Cardinals comeback in Arizona before forcing a fourth-quarter come from behind of their own at Levi’s Stadium.
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Then-rookie quarterback Kyler Murray showed why he was the No. 1 pick in that year’s draft, even though it allowed the 49ers to grab EDGE Nick Bosa a pick later.
To give Murray support, Arizona pulled off a coup of a trade to acquire former Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. It’s hard to figure out who on the 49ers defense will best handle coverage duties on Hopkins this year.
Yet the Cardinals defense might be the unit to watch this season. Adding defensive tackle Jordan Phillips should help up front, while linebacker Devon Kennard is a nice blue-collar addition.
But the player most fans should watch closely is rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons from Clemson, who’ll look to make life more than difficult for 49ers tight end George Kittle in coming seasons.
Arizona could be a top candidate to challenge the Niners for the top seed in the NFC West this year, especially if Murray and the Cardinals defense take those next-level steps.