San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Point Spread & Free Pick
The San Francisco 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals in a big NFC West battle on Sunday. For San Fran, the injuries are adding up and played a role in their 28-21 loss to the Seahawks at home last Sunday. They look to regroup in a spot that might be tricky against the 4-0 Cardinals. Arizona might have some wind in their sails after finally beating their longtime divisional tormentor on Sunday, with a thorough 37-20 win over the Rams. They look to keep it rolling this week against the Niners.
Hope for Frisco?
Things have gotten a bit dire with the injuries for San Francisco. With injuries already taking their toll, especially with a decimated run-game, it just keeps getting worse. We saw Garoppolo go down on Sunday with a calf injury. LT Trent Williams also went down, and while neither is expected to miss extended time, it doesn't help an already tenuous personnel situation. Even their kicker got a groin injury. It's early in the season to be already deposited in this unfortunate but all-too-familiar territory. Aerially, they are still intact, with most of their weapons still out there. It's just that Garoppolo was already struggling to get the most out of it, and we'll see where it goes if Trey Lance ends up in there behind center.
Still, playing with personnel deficits is nothing new for a SF team that has built depth over the years by having to deal with this very thing time and again. It definitely reduces their overall effectiveness, but perhaps to a lesser degree than other teams dealing with the same problems. And not that losing Garoppolo can be identified as a good thing, but Lance is their high pick, so it's not like they're throwing a no-hoper in there and wishing for the best. He showed a good arm in spots, connecting with Deebo Samuel well while featuring some lively feet and breaking off some runs. He gave the offense a little extra life, so maybe that particular injury setback with Garoppolo isn't much of a setback after all.
Letdown Spot for Arizona?
After such a sustained run of success by the Rams, it meant a lot for Arizona to get over that hump last week. One could see that for an early-season game, the Cardinals were approaching it with extra urgency. They left it all out there and put a lot into it mentally and physically. Now hosting a San Francisco team that seems a bit troubled, can we expect the same razor's edge this week? Still, for a team that has yet to achieve consistent success under this new regime, they're not in a spot to ease off the gas. It's just that at least a slightly-reduced urgency could be present this week. Against a team that can still provide ample defensive resistance even amidst the injuries, it could make all the difference.
- Get more details: SF/ARI 10/10/21 Match-up Stats
Major Questions for Both Teams
While we've seen the 49ers' defense hold up to different degrees based on the offenses they've been playing, is this a spot where they could crumble? Arizona at or near top gear is becoming an offense that can overwhelm you with its sheer variety. If DeAndre Hopkins reverts to top form, he can take over a game, and if not, guys like AJ Green, Christian Kirk, Maxx Williams, or Rondale Moore can fill the gap. Chase Edmonds is a versatile back, while James Conner is developing into a nifty red-zone threat. To top it off, Kyler Murray is back there, keeping defenses on their toes with his abilities. It's a lot to contain, and they may stretch the San Francisco "D" to its limits this week.
Even so, the Arizona defense can be exploited, and if Lance is in there more, he could lend some credibility to a battered ground game that might be getting a little healthier. Add in the potentially explosive Deebo Samuel, along with their other targets like George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and others; this is a spot where the 49ers can do a little damage in their own right. Last week was a competent defensive performance by the Cardinals against a good offense, but maybe it was more a case of their explosive offense taking the Rams out of their wheelhouse. Either way, this could be an exploitable spot for the San Francisco offense.
49ers vs. Cards Prediction - Week 5 Pick ATS
Taking the 49ers here is a dicey spot with the uncertainty surrounding some injuries and just their current uneven form. They're in an urgent spot where falling under .500 in this strong of a division would put them in a tenuous spot. They really need this one, and while desire isn't enough on its own to overcome a better team and numerous injuries, I see this being a tough divisional game where the Niners find enough answers to keep this one within reach. I'll take the 49ers.