Cardinals vs. SF 49ers: 5 battles to watch in 2020 season opener

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, Larry Fitzgerald, SF 49ers, Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers kick off their 2020 regular-season campaign at home against the Cardinals, and you’ll want to watch these five battles on Sunday.

While the SF 49ers finished 2019 with a perfect 2-0 series record against the NFC West division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, both games sure felt much closer than the record would indicate.

In Week 9 on Halloween last year, the Niners held off a desperate comeback attempt from Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and Co. to improve to a perfect 8-0 record. Two weeks later, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad had to engineer a come-from-behind victory with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hitting running back Jeff Wilson for a game-winning go-ahead touchdown with mere seconds remaining in regulation.

Despite the Cardinals finishing 5-10-1 last year, one could make the argument they’re on the proverbial “up and up,” particularly after landing superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans during the offseason.

Hopkins will join one of San Francisco’s longtime nemesis players, veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, in an attempt to thwart the SF 49ers’ road back to the Super Bowl this Sunday when both teams kick off their 2020 regular season campaign.

Currently, according to The Action Network, the Niners sit as seven-point favorites for the contest. But with zero fans in attendance at Levi’s Stadium, it’ll be an odd and different atmosphere for the red and gold trying to make the most of home-field advantage. The lack of a preseason could also spell for some weird and sloppy play at times, too, which lends more to the possibility of an upset.

If San Francisco wants to pull off the win, it’ll have to win the majority of these key matchups throughout the course of the game.