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Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction and Preview

Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction and Preview

NFC West rematch on tap when banged-up Cardinals go for season sweep of 49ers

It's a rematch of a game a few weeks ago as the San Francisco 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals in a crucial NFC West tilt. 

Arizona held serve at home 17-10 back in Week 5 as the then-undefeated Cards got touchdowns from James Conner and DeAndre Hopkins on their way to a victory. It was a pretty tightly contested contest with the two teams separated by just 34 yards of offense and three minutes of possession. But it was enough for Arizona to win its 10th game in the last 13 meetings with the Niners.

Arizona has a little extra time to prepare for this one after falling 24-21 to the Packers last Thursday night. Kyler Murray threw two interceptions in the loss as the run game managed just 74 yards on 20 combined carries. The Cards had three turnovers and held the ball for only 22 minutes and 25 seconds of the contest. The defense allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw two touchdown passes and the Green Bay ground game to put up 4.4 yards per carry.

San Fran snapped a four-game losing streak by putting up their second-highest scoring total of the season in Chicago in a 33-22 victory. For the second time this season, Jimmy Garoppolo cracked the 300 yard mark as Deebo Samuel continued his fantastic season. The wide receiver had his fourth 100-plus-yard effort, and the defense made a few crucial key stops when they needed to. It was the first time since Week 1 that San Francisco scored more than 28 points.

Arizona (7-1) at San Francisco (3-4)

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 7 at 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Spread: 49ers -2.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Intangibles
It's always nice to get a couple of extra days to prepare for a contest, and Arizona has that after playing last Thursday night. This is the Cardinals' fifth road game of the season, and they are 4-0 in their previous four. Up next is a home game against Carolina, so there's no look-ahead factor for the Cards, who should be rather angry after their first loss. San Francisco should be feeling good after its last win and glad to be home after playing four of its first seven on the road. Focus shouldn't be an issue, but the 49ers do have a Monday night affair against the Rams at home up next.

2. QB play
It always starts with the signal-caller, and Murray will be a game-time decision on Sunday afternoon after not practicing all week because of the ankle injury he suffered late in the game last Thursday night. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Friday that he won't put Murray out there "unless he can function." What that means exactly remains to be seen, but even though Murray is leading the NFL in completion rate (77.4 percent), he must be able to move around comfortably in order to be effective. If Murray, can't go Colt McCoy will get the call. DeAndre Hopkins also is a game-time call after re-aggravating his hamstring injury against the Packers.

For San Francisco, Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off of a fantastic performance in the win over Chicago. He even took a page out of rookie Trey Lance's book with two rushing touchdowns (on five carries). It's only one game, but Jimmy G may have temporarily quieted the calls for Lance to take over. He can add to that "silence" by leading the 49ers to a win on Sunday.

3. Getting healthy
The injury list has been long for the 49ers, but there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. San Francisco activated the practice windows for tight end George Kittle, kicker Robbie Gould and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Kittle has been out since Week 4 and is a massive upgrade over Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner. Gould has also been out that long, and, as a good sign, the team cut Joey Slye, who was their kicker the previous few weeks. San Francisco is also expected to get back two defensive players from concussion protocol, including pass rusher Dee Ford.

Final Analysis

A lot of this depends on Murray's ankle injury and his availability for Sunday. If he can't play, then San Francisco wins. If he's not 100 percent, then I also think San Francisco wins. Heck, I think San Fran wins anyways, especially if some of their walking wounded return. Give me the home team in this one as San Francisco starts a winning streak.

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Prediction: 49ers 24, Cardinals 20

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.