San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals: Predictions and Odds (NFL Week 9)
This game goes to the San Francisco 49ers by a touchdown. Final score: 49ers 27, Cardinals 20.
How to Watch: 49ers vs Cardinals
What: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
When: Thursday Night Football, October 31 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
How (TV): NFLN
Latest point spread: 49ers -7.5, Cardinals +7.5
The best and worst teams of the NFC West will face off against each other on Thursday Night Football, with the undefeated 7-0 first-place San Francisco 49ers traveling to Arizona to take on the 3-4-1 last-place Arizona Cardinals.
Each of these two teams is coming off a different side of a Week 8 whooping – the 49ers dominated the Carolina Panthers by a score of 51-13 at home, while the Cardinals got crushed by the New Orleans Saints and a healthy Drew Brees in the Superdome, 31-9.
Let’s take a quick look at how these two NFC West teams measure up against each other for their Week 9 Thursday night face-off.
Check out our latest video on NFL Week 9 – Picks & Best Bets.
The 7-0-0 San Francisco 49ers
This is the San Francisco 49ers that the football world has been waiting for – dominating on defense and ability to put points up on the board with a healthy franchise quarterback – and so far this season, Jimmy Garoppolo’s gang has not disappointed.
The surprise of the defense (not) is rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, who is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the league, posting a mind-blowing 7 sacks already in his first NFL season, proving pro-football blood must flow through the Bosa family (his brother Joey isn’t too bad, either).
The 49ers’ two-headed rushing attack includes Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, right now with the second-best rushing game in the league, although with Breida listed as questionable for Week 9 (see below), Coleman will have to take the majority of the snaps, which could affect the effectiveness of the offense.
The 3-4-1 Arizona Cardinals
These Arizona Cardinals started poorly with a 0-3-1 record in the first four weeks, but they went on a fun three-game winning streak until they faced the Saints with a healthy Drew Brees under center and they basically got whooped away from home.
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray seems to be adapting well to the NFL, completing 63.7 percent of his passes for almost 2,000 yards and 7 touchdowns, and his rookie head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, has to be pleased that after throwing four interceptions in the first four weeks, Murray hasn’t thrown one since.
Running back David Johnson, who was only able to play three snaps last week, is currently listed as inactive for Week 9 (see below) and once again that will have a huge impact on the Cardinal’s somewhat struggling offense.
What’s at Stake for 49ers vs Cardinals?
These two divisional rivals have met 55 total times (including 0 postseason games), with San Francisco winning 29 of those times and Arizona winning the other 26 games.
The last time these two teams met up was last season, both games taking place in October and both games were won by the Cardinals over the 49ers, 28-18 and 18-15.
If the 49ers win this matchup, they’ll move to 8-0-0 and continue to stay atop the NFC West at least a game above the Seattle Seahawks, who are going into Week 9 with a 6-2 record.
But if the Cardinals come out winners in this one, they’ll be 4-4-1 and, though they would still be at the bottom of the NFC West, they would get one win closer to their nearest competition, the Los Angeles Rams, who are 5-3 after eight weeks.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 9 49ers-Cardinals matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the 49ers and the Cardinals next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive Stats Comparison
San Francisco 49ers Overall Offense
- Ranked 16th overall in 2018
- Ranked 6th overall in 2019
Passing attack: The San Francisco 49ers have the 6th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 387.3 yards per game through the air after eight weeks.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is currently under center in San Francisco and ranked the 23rd most productive passer in the league having completed 132-of-189 passes for 1,489 yards and 9 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and a completion percentage of 69.8.
The 49ers’ leading receiver after eight weeks is tight end George Kittle, who is currently ranked 26th in the league with 40 catches for 462 yards and 1 touchdown.
Rushing attack: The 49ers’ rushing attack is ranked 2nd in the NFL after averaging 181.1 yards on the ground per game.
Matt Breida (listed as questionable for Week 9, see below) is the 49ers’ best runner and he is currently the 16th in the NFL with 84 carries for 446 yards and 1 rushing touchdown, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
San Francisco has scored 207 total points this season, or 29.6 per game, which is the 9th best total in the NFL.
San Francisco Offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 9: running backs Matt Breida (ankle) and Jeff Wilson (head),
INJURY NOTES: wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (personal), quarterback C.J. Beathard (coach’s decision), offensive tackles Joe Staley (lower leg) and Mike McGlinchey (knee) are listed as inactive, tight end Garrett Celek (back) is listed as PUP-R, while running back Jerick McKinnon (knee – ACL), wide receivers Jalen Hurd (back), Shawn Poindexter (knee) and Trent Taylor (foot) and offensive tackles Shon Coleman (ankle) and Andrew Lauderdale (undisclosed) have been placed on the injured reserve list.
Arizona Cardinals Overall Offense
- Ranked 32nd overall in 2018
- Ranked 22nd overall in 2019
Passing attack: Arizona has the 19th best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 226.4 yards through the air each game.
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray is the 14th most productive NFL passer after completing 186-of-292 passes for 1,988 yards and 7 touchdowns with 4 interceptions and a completion percentage of 63.7.
The Cardinals’ best receiver is currently Larry Fitzgerald, who has caught 38 passes for 447 yards with 2 touchdowns in eight weeks, ranked 30th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Arizona has the 14th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 116.5 yards on the ground per game.
David Johnson is the Cardinals’ best runner and now he is the 35th most productive in the NFL with 77 carries for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
Arizona has scored 170 points in 2019, averaging 21.2 per game, which is currently the 17th highest scoring average in the NFL.
Arizona Offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 9: running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring)
Injury notes: offensive guard Max Garcia (knee – ACL) is listed as PUP-R, offensive tackle Brett Toth (illness) is listed as NFI, center Lamont Gaillard (coach’s decision) is listed as inactive, running backs D.J. Foster (hamstring), David Johnson (ankle) and Alfred Morris (coach’s decision) and wide receiver KeeSean Johnson (coach’s decision) are listed as inactive, while wide receiver Hakeem Butler (hand), offensive tackles Marcus Gilbert (knee – ACL), Jordan Mills (knee) and William Sweet (foot) and offensive guard Rees Odhiambo (chest) have been placed on injured reserve.
The 49ers are playing well on the offensive side of the ball, averaging almost 10 points more on the scoreboard than the Cardinals do per game, so San Francisco has the offensive advantage on Thursday night.
Defensive Stats Comparison
San Francisco 49ers Overall Defense
- Ranked 13th overall in 2018
- Ranked 1st overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The 49ers have the best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for just 128.7 yards through the air per game.
San Francisco’s defense has 10 team interceptions and they have 27 sacks total.
Run coverage: The 49ers are the 11th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 95.7 yards per game.
San Francisco has allowed their opponents to score just 77 total points, or 11 per game, which is the second-least (behind the New England Patriots) in the NFL.
49ers Defensive Players to Watch
Make sure you check out 49ers’ talented middle linebacker Fred Warner, who has the team’s most tackles with 39 (2 for a loss), a quarterback hit, 2 passes defended plus a forced fumble.
Definitely watch for San Francisco rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, who already has 7.0 sacks, an interception, 2 passes defended, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, and 20 total tackles.
Still rocking the NFL is 49ers’ veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who has 3 interceptions (one he took back for a 31-yard pick-six), 10 passes defended and 23 total tackles.
49ers Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 9: defensive tackle
INJURY NOTE: defensive end Jullian Taylor (coach’s decision) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) are listed as inactive, while defensive end Kentavius Street (knee) and cornerbacks Tim Harris (groin) and Jason Verrett (knee) have been placed on injured reserve.
Arizona Cardinals Overall Defense
- Ranked 20th overall in 2018
- Ranked 29th overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The Cardinals’ defense is 29th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 277.0 yards per matchup.
Arizona’s defense has 2 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 22 total sacks after eight weeks.
Run coverage: The Cardinals are 25th best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 130.1 yards per game.
Arizona has allowed its opponents to score 223 total points this season, or 27.9 per matchup, which is 31st fewest (or second most) in the NFL.
Cardinals Defensive Players to Watch
Two of the best tacklers in the league play for Arizona – middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, who has 79 total tackles (2nd most in the league) and strong safety Budda Baker, who has 63 tackles (T-13th most in the NFL).
One of the NFL’s best quarterback hunters thrives on Arizona’s defense – linebacker Chandler Jones, who has 8.5 sacks, 9 quarterback hits, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 21 total tackles.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson is worth checking out in the Cardinals’ secondary, with an interception, 2 passes defended, a quarterback sack, a forced fumble, and 13 total tackles.
Cardinals Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 9: defensive end Cassius March (head).
Injury notes: defensive end Zach Allen (neck) and Michael Dogbe (coach’s decision) have been listed as inactive, while cornerbacks Robert Alford (leg) and Brandon Williams (shoulder) and safety Josh Shaw (shoulder) have been placed on injured reserve.
This one is plain and simple – the 49ers have the best overall defense in the league right now so they carry the full defensive advantage on Thursday night.
Special Teams Stats Comparison
San Francisco’s punter, Mitch Wishnowsky, is in his first NFL season and so far, he has punted 20 times this season for a net average of 42.2 yards per punt, which is 14th best in the league.
Arizona’s veteran punter, Andy Lee, is in his sixteenth NFL season, third with the Cards, and this year he has punted 28 times for a net average of 41.5 yards per punt, T-21st best in the league.
San Francisco’s placekicker, Robbie Gould, is in his fifteenth NFL season, his third with the 49ers.
Gould has made 13-of-20 field goals so far this season, his longest a 47 yarder, and so far, he has missed zero extra point attempts (22/22).
Arizona’s placekicker, Zane Gonzalez, is in his third season, first full one with the Cardinals.
Gonzalez is 21-for-24 this season, his longest a 50-yarder, and he has missed no extra point attempts (13/13).
San Francisco’s punt returner, wide receiver Richie James, is ranked 9th in average punt return yardage this season.
James has returned 19 punts for 206 yards, averaging 10.8 yards per return, his longest for 32 yards.
Arizona’s punt returner, wide receiver Christian Kirk, is ranked 32nd in punt return average this season.
Kirk has returned 7 punts for 39 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per return, his longest for 20 yards.
Special Teams Advantage
The 49ers’ veteran kicker has missed 7 field goals, while the Cardinals’ young placekicker has only missed three, so Arizona has the slight special teams advantage on Thursday.
Final Game Analysis – 49ers vs Cardinals
Why Will the 49ers Win this Game?
The better question here is, why wouldn’t the 49ers win this game? They’re a top-to-bottom better team than the Cardinals right now so they should easily take care of business on Thursday night.
The 49ers will win this game because their offense consistently scores more points than the Cardinals and their defense knows how to get after the quarterback and shut teams down without even blinking a collective eye.
San Francisco will beat Arizona on Thursday Night Football because it is an important divisional matchup, and head coach Kyle Shanahan knows that his team’s major divisional competition, the Seattle Seahawks, are currently unbeaten in the NFC West and so it becomes a must-win for these postseason-bound 49ers.
Why Will the Cardinals Win this Game?
The Arizona Cardinals will win this game if their rushing attack can step up in David Johnson’s absence because the one area the 49ers are ‘weak’ is against the run, their run defense currently ranked 11th against opponents on the ground.
Kyler Murray will have to be perfect in this one – be mobile against their defensive line and be accurate against their secondary and balance quick passes with hard-hitting runs to keep the 49ers off balance.
To win, the Cardinals’ offensive line must play exceptionally well by protecting Murray better (he’s already been sacked 26 times) and creating holes for the runners, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt their chances if the Arizona hometown crowd could make some big noise when the 49ers’ offense is on the field.
The 49ers vs Cardinals Game Goes To
San Francisco 49ers by a touchdown, since their superior offense and defense will be tough to beat, even in front of an Arizona crowd.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as 49ers 27, Cardinals 13.
My prediction for the final score is 49ers 27, Cardinals 20.
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals – Game Odds