Gameday Preview: 49ers @ Cardinals
For the fourth consecutive season the 49ers face off against their division rival Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers are coming off a 7-9 season with a strong showing at the end of the season under new head coach Mike Singletary, while the Cardinals are coming off their first Super Bowl experience. The 49ers travel to Arizona and the gameplan calls for Singletary’s smash mouth style football, under the play calling of new OC Jimmy Raye, who has said that the 49ers expect to run the ball 60% of the time. The 49ers didn’t mix it up that much during the preseason so we’ll finally get to see what Raye’s offense with the tandem of Gore and Coffee can do for a full game.
When the 49ers have the ball:
It has already been established that the 49ers will run, run, run, and may mix in a pass here and there. The 49ers want to get the ground game going and hopefully keep their defense off the field. Shaun Hill gets the nod at quarterback and Niner fans better hope that run game gets going. If not and they have to play catch up and rely on the arm of Hill, it will not be…I’ll be nice and not bash Hill. Let’s hope he throws better during the regular season then he did during the preseason.
When the Cardinals have the ball:
It’s pretty obvious the Cardinals will rely on the arm of Kurt Warner and he’ll look for his favorite target in Larry Fitzgerald. The 49ers have to put pressure on Warner. If not and they give him all day to throw, it will be a long day. The status of Fitz’ counterpart Anquan Boldin is still up in the air. He’ll most likely play as he isn’t one you can keep out of games. The Cardinals run game isn’t a threat, but the arm of Warner and play of Fitz/Boldin are.
49ers offensive line vs Cards front seven – If the O-line opens holes for Gore and Coffee they will run all over them and wear them down.
Larry Fitzgerald vs Nate Clements – Clements didn’t have the best preseason, but the past games against the Cards he has kept Fitz in check. He’ll have his hands full this week if the 49ers lack a pass rush.
It all comes down to the run game and the pass rush, if the 49ers offensive line doesn’t dominate and the defense doesn’t pressure Warner the 49ers will be in for a long day.
49ers 19 – Cardinals 17