Week 8: San Francisco 49ers At Arizona Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Winner Alex Smith has been poor in back-to-back games against the Giants and the Seahawks. The 49ers might be concerned because Smith could not bounce back after theyNiners were dominated by the defending Super Bowl champions. Smith is a good quarterback who looked great earlier in the year. He may be suffering from a loss of confidence at this point.
The Cardinals were forced to go with John Skelton in the Week Seven loss to theVikings. Skelton does not have a lot of quickness and can’t dance away from pressure, and that’s a huge issue against the hard-charging 49ers.
Winner The 49ers play old-school football because they want to beat you up on both sides of the ball. Few running backs in football can dole out more punishment than Frank Gore. He gets help from Kendall Hunter. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis are two of Smith’s favorite targets. MarioManningham did not play against Seattle as a result of a shoulder injury and his status has not been determined for this game.
The Cardinals are going to try to take pressure off of Skelton by running the ball with LaRod Stephens-Howling. He ran for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. Larry Fitzgerald is a game-breaking wide receiver and Andre Roberts complements Fitzgerald very well.
Winner The 49ers are going to try to set the tone early by coming after Skelton. He does not have the escapability to get away from pass rushers like Aldon Smith (5.5 sacks) and Ahmad Brooks (3.0 sacks). Patrick Willis sets the tone for the defense with his strength and hitting ability while NaVorro Bowman is a tackling machine who can dominate the line of scrimmage.
The Cardinals may not have as much talent as the 49ers on the defensive side of the ball, but they play hard and have a couple of solid players in linebacker Daryl Washington (6.0 sacks) and defensive end Calais Campbell (2.0 sacks). Defensive back Patrick Peterson is a game-changing player with three interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
Special Teams
Winner David Akers has the leg strength to hit from 60 yards or closer, but he has been a tad erratic this season. Punter Andy Lee has good leg strength and is a solid directional kicker. Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams are solid return men.
Winner The Cardinals know that Jay Feely can hit long field goals when the game is on the line. Dave Zastudil is a good but not great punter. Peterson can be a huge difference maker returning punts.

The Winner Is

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers
Winner 49ers
4 out of 4

The 49ers are clearly one of the better teams in the NFL, but they are still shaken by their one-sided loss two weeks ago to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Smith is coming off two consecutive substandard games. The Cardinals are hurting, but a big game here could get them going in the right direction again.


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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