The 49ers were notably shorthanded the last time they played the Cardinals in Week 5, but some differences could give the Niners some key edges in Week 9.
On the promising side, the Niners managed to keep what was then the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL to just 17 points, frustrating quarterback Kyler Murray and staying within position to manage a road upset at State Farm Stadium. San Francisco’s own rookie quarterback, Trey Lance, also flashed some serious promise, even though his final passing line showed why he’s still a raw player with lots of room to grow.
But losses are losses, and there’s no getting around the disappointment of how Week 5 turned into yet another example of a game the 49ers could have won but ultimately didn’t.
With a rematch now on the table in Week 9 when the 7-1 Cardinals visit the 3-4 Niners at Levi’s Stadium, the tables could be turned, even if it’s ever so slightly.
Edge No. 4: 49ers may not have to face off against Kyler Murray
For over two years now, Murray has been a proverbial thorn in San Francisco’s side. The 49ers have long had difficulties with mobile quarterbacks, and the fact Murray is playing at an MVP-caliber level anyway doesn’t help matters at all.
But Murray is also dealing with an ankle injury suffered in Arizona’s first loss of the season last week to the Green Bay Packers, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury has remained elusive about whether or not his star quarterback will be available for Week 9:
Smart play by Kingsbury not to fully disclose what could happen. But even if Murray is available, it appears likely he won’t be anywhere near the threat on the ground if his ankle is banged up.
Yet if Murray isn’t available, the Cardinals will likely have to turn to backup quarterback Colt McCoy, who hasn’t started a game since 2020 when he was a member of the New York Giants.
Needless to say, the 35-year-old veteran journeyman is nowhere near the threat Murray is. So, if the Niners end up having to face McCoy instead of Murray, it’s not hard to assume the chances of San Francisco pulling off the home win increase dramatically.