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Homefield advantage doesn’t mean anything during this crowd-free 2020 season of the NFL, but the question here becomes whether the 49ers can beat the Cardinals by a touchdown or more, and this early in the season, that might be tough.
Cardinals +6.5 (-110)
|Cardinals vs 49ers Information
|Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers
|Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA
|Sunday, September 13, 2020; 4:25 PM ET
|How to watch
Watching the Arizona Cardinals play competitively against the 49ers last year should give fans hope that this Week 1 matchup should be just as close a game, with Kyler Murray having two veteran receivers to target, Larry Fitzgerald and now DeAndre Hopkins.
The 49ers have been dealing with a lot of offseason injuries, so expect them to come limping to this Week 1 game against the Cards, but even given that, they should be able to take care of business against a team that is still figuring itself out.
That said, the bet here isn’t an even one because the oddsmakers have seen fit to give the Cardinals almost a touchdown for this wager, so this early in the season it might make more sense to take the points and Arizona to cover this Week 1 NFC West showdown.
Last year during his rookie season, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray defied the odds and played well, completing 349-of-542 passes for 3722 total yards and 20 touchdowns, plus he posted 93 carries for 544 yards and 4 more touchdowns.
Great numbers for a rookie – but now that he is an official part of the league, Murray must take that next step forward as a QB and begin to lead his team to more wins.
Helping matters in that area will be the addition of star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who, in addition to Larry Fitzgerald, gives Murray a veteran presence on the roster and yet another sure-handed deep threat target to rely on.
The 49ers are already dealing with injury issues to critical players, so their Week 1 outcome could be affected by that even more so than the typical rust that happens from not suiting up for months on end.
Rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk has tweaked his hamstring, 2nd-year receiver Deebo Samuel is dealing with a foot injury, cornerback Jason Verrett is also having to handle a hamstring situation, while offensive lineman Ben Garland is battling an ankle injury.
San Fran is capable of winning without these star playmakers, but that puts a lot of pressure on QB Jimmy Garoppolo to make miracles happen with the teammates who remain, though not having to travel for this one should be enough to help put them over the winning edge.
Now in his eighth NFL season, former Houston Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was ‘mysteriously’ traded away, and the Arizona Cardinals could not be happier with the fact that it happened.
Last season for Houston, Hopkins posted 104 catches for 1165 yards and 7 touchdowns, averaging 77.7 yards per game and a catching percentage of almost 70, numbers that put him in the elite category in the receiver heavy NFL.
How the Cardinals take advantage of having Hopkins to target will determine how successful of a 2020 season they have.
Football experts predicted that one of the key trades of the offseason would be for Washington left tackle Trent Williams, an effective playmaker in a highly coveted position.
The Cardinals managed to snag Williams in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Protecting Garoppolo’s blind side will be a critical part of the 49ers success in 2020, and could be that extra level of expertise the team needs to take home the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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