The Arizona Cardinals are 10-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers this weekend for good reason. It’s mainly because the Cardinals’ offense has been average at best for most of the season. Arizona ranks 30th in the league with an average of 306.2 yards of total offense per contest and has only converted 18 of 60 third down plays.
Carson Palmer was supposed to come in and reignite the Cardinals’ offense, but that hasn’t really happened. Arizona is clearly a better team with No. 3 at quarterback, but he hasn’t exactly been great under center. Thus far, Palmer has tossed five interceptions and nine interceptions. He’s completing passes at a 58.9 percent clip and has a QB rating of 67.0. He’s basically played okay through the first five weeks.
Palmer has led the Cardinals to a respectable 3-2 record with his play so far, but there’s no doubt he’ll have to step things up in week six on the road in San Francisco. The 49ers have had their fair share of troubles as well in 2013, but they still have a top-notch defense. San Francisco is ranked fifth in total defense (302.4 YPG) and 12th in PPG (19.6). With the home crowd behind them, the 49ers’ defense is going to make things awful tough on Mr. Palmer.
The Cardinals have no chance of winning Sunday if Palmer turns the ball over. It won’t hurt matters if they can get a ground game established, but most teams have a very difficult time doing that against the 49ers. Come Sunday, most of the load will fall squarely on the back on No. 3.