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Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
League : NFL

San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals Prediction & Preview



#473 Arizona
Cardinals 6.5
#474 San Francisco
49ers -6.5

Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:25pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports


On Sunday September 13th the Arizona Cardinals visit the NFC defending Champion San Francisco 49ers to open the 2020 NFL regular season for both teams at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Arizona will have an up-tempo offense led by quarterback Kyler Murray, a trio of talented wide receivers and an improved defense.

The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl this past February and must fight against the “Super Bowl hangover” when they host the Cardinals to open the regular season on Sunday. The 49ers once again will be led on the offensive side of the ball by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and defensively be talented pass-rusher Nick Bosa and the veteran leadership of Richard Sherman.


Cardinals must score plenty of points

Last season, the Arizona Cardinals were 5-11 losing seven of the final nine games. Quarterback Kyler Murray was the catalyst of the offense and this season will be joined by wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The talented former Houston Texans wideout will play alongside veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the up-and-coming Christian Kirk, giving the Cardinals offense plenty of weapons for Murray to choose from. Kenyan Drake returns as the top running back after Arizona dealt away oft-injured David Johnson to the Texans in the Hopkins trade. In 2019, Murray passed for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and also rushed for 544 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. Drake rushed for a team-high 643 yards rushing with eight touchdowns and Larry Fitzgerald led all receivers with 804 yards and 4 touchdowns.


Defensively, Arizona gave up more yards than any other team in the NFL and needs much improvement over last season. Chandler Jones and Budda Baker are two of the top defensive players in the NFL, but the Cardinals will need better play from their top cornerback Patrick Peterson. Arizona did add Devon Kennard and Jordan Phillips to the defense which will go a long way in improving that unit’s quality.


Can San Francisco avoid the Super Bowl Blues

Last season, the San Francisco 49ers were 13-3 but we're disappointed in February by losing to Kansas City in the Super Bowl. The 49ers offense will start with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, but the starting quarterback will be without wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders who left during free agency and Deebo Samuel who is injured. The 49ers offensive line is also a bit banged up with injuries to Ben Garland and Weston Richburg. However, Garoppolo has tight end George Kittle to throw to. Kittle is considered one of the best possession receivers in all of the NFL. Last season, Garoppolo passed for 3978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The leading running back returning from last season is Raheem Mostert (772 yards), who will share time with Tevin Coleman, who rushed for 544 yards and six touchdowns. Kittle returns as the top receiver with 1,053 yards and five TDs. Another concern is at left tackle where Trent Williams, who sat out last year due to medical issues in Washington, takes over for the retired Joe Staley.


Defensively, San Francisco will look almost the same as last season when the defense was one of the best in the NFL. The top three tacklers from a season ago - Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw in Jimmy Ward - all return. Nick Bosa improves with each season as the 49ers premier pass rusher and veteran corner Richard Sherman, who is 32 years old, still can play at the elite level in the NFL. They did trade Pro Bowl DT DeForest Buckner to the Colts, but replaced him with talented rookie Javon Kinlaw. Although every opponent in the NFC will place a bull's-eye on the San Francisco 49ers back, expect the 49ers to once again have an elite defensive unit and contend for the Super Bowl.

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