Week 6 Game Preview: 49ers vs. Cardinals
The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals are both riding two-game win streaks coming into week six of the NFL season, but one of them will see their recent surge come to a halt after the NFC West rivals clash at Candlestick Park today.
While the Cards have quietly strung together two consecutive solid defensive performances, the Niners have been more boisterous in their efforts by outscoring their last two opponents 69-14. Like Arizona, San Fran’s defense has been a big reason for its recent success, but Frank Gore’s production has definitely helped, as Gore has racked up 234 rushing yards on just 37 carries in the last two games.
San Fran’s run game is certainly rolling, but last year’s phenom, Colin Kaepernick, has been less than stellar so far in 2013, as the team comes into today’s match-up ranked 31st in the league in total passing yards. He’s also made some costly errors, with four interceptions on the young season, although, that number is still five fewer than Arizona starter Carson Palmer has tossed in the first five games of 2013.
Despite the turnovers, Arizona has been able to win recently thanks to a stout run defense, which is ranked 3rd in the league (79 yards allowed per game). Considering the Cards probably won’t put many points on the board against the Niners, they’ll need to limit their mistakes and shut down Gore to have a chance at notching their third straight victory.
Meanwhile, all the 49ers need to do is simply execute their offense and contain Arizona’s rather weak offensive attack. The Cards have benefited by playing subpar teams lately (Tampa Bay, Carolina), but the difficulty level for them will significantly increase today on the road against the defending NFC champs. And frankly, the challenge of taking on the well-balanced Niners will be too much for them to overcome.
With home field advantage and some positive momentum, look for the San Francisco 49ers to cover -10 points as they cruise past their division rivals.