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 the Niners 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 the Vikings. 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. Mario Manningham 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 escape-ability 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. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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