Cardinals vs. SF 49ers: 3 biggest concerns for Kyle Shanahan in Week 1

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals, SF 49ers
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers host the Cardinals for Week 1 at Levi’s Stadium, prompting some concerns for head coach Kyle Shanahan if he wants to start 1-0.

Yes, the SF 49ers will actually engage in real football in just a few days, kicking off their 2020 campaign with a season-opening home bout against their NFC West rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, on Sunday, Sept. 13 from Levi’s Stadium.

It’s been an odd offseason, sure. No in-person spring workouts, a remote NFL Draft, an altered training camp schedule and zero preseason games, leading many to almost forget football will take place this season.

The fact it’s beginning on time and on schedule is a minor miracle in of itself.

And one of the storylines behind the Niners’ upcoming campaign will be how they handle the Cardinals in the two-game regular-season series this season. Last year, San Francisco won both bouts, a hard-fought Thursday night battle on Oct. 31 last year in which head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad was dealing with a plethora of injuries, followed by a come-from-behind thriller in which running back Jeff Wilson scored a game-winning touchdown reception in Week 11.

Arizona might not be the SF 49ers’ chief rival within the division. And after going 5-10-1 last year, head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s squad is projected to be towards the basement once more amid a powerful NFC West that could easily send at least two teams to the playoffs this year.

That said, the Cardinals are in surefire upstart mode, particularly after adding superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a massive coup-like trade with the Houston Texans during the offseason.

Combine his addition with the second-year maturation of quarterback Kyler Murray, and the Niners don’t exactly have a walk-in win on their hands for Week 1.

Murray and Hopkins are just part of the concerns facing Shanahan as he game plans for this Week 1 opener. Niner Noise breaks down the three worries Shanahan and Co. will have to deal with this Sunday.