The San Francisco 49ers have their third division game of the season against an Arizona Cardinals team with the exact win-loss record. The Cardinals win ugly, but they win. Their offense can be powerful, but the offensive line is not up to par, and that is what the 49ers’ defense needs to take advantage of. The defensive line needs to blitz, blitz and blitz some more; this will but pressure on a relatively immobile veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer. Palmer needs to be sacked repeatedly and not given the throw to All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and his prodigy Michael Floyd.
The Cardinals’ running game has been almost non-existent all season, but it did show some signs of life with rookie Andre Ellington. Ellington only rushed for 52 yards, but it was done with only seven carries, which yielded a 7.4 yards per carry average. The front seven of San Francisco needs to be as aggressive as possible, but maintain their discipline just in case the Cardinals decide to use the short passing game with quick slants and screens to compensate if the running game does not produce.
To stop the intermediate and deep catches with Fitzgerald and Floyd, the defensive secondary needs to play press man coverage, depending on who will be the starting cornerbacks, with the safeties helping out over the top. This will cause Palmer to pause on his throws, and will help the front four to put pressure on the quarterback. Despite the injuries on the defense, the 49ers should be able to, once again, be the reason for winning this game.