The Arizona Cardinals take on the San Francisco 49ers as both teams look for their second win on the season. The losing team takes a commanding lead in the race for a top three pick, while the winner... Gets their second win of the season.
We talked with David Fucillo of Niners Nation on two reasons why the Cardinals lose and two reasons why the Cardinals win on Sunday
This is a fascinating game if you remove the fact that it involves two really bad football teams. The 49ers offense dominated the Cardinals in the stat sheet, but five turnovers killed them. Now they meet in Arizona with Byron Leftwich taking over play-calling. We can speculate on what that means for the offense, but it is mostly speculation given his lack of game-plan and play-calling experience.
Two reasons the San Francisco 49ers win on Sunday
1. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers -- The 49ers were the better team in much of what they did in Week 5, but -5 in turnover differential is not going to cut it. We broke down the 49ers 18 turnovers through seven weeks, and blame can be spread around. The quarterbacks have made some bad decisions, but there have also been receiver drops, and pass protection issues. The 49ers have shown they can avoid turnovers, but it’s been woefully inconsistent. But if the 49ers can cut the turnover differential to near even or better, the 49ers will win this game.
2. Getting pressure -- The Cardinals rank 23rd in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate and dead last in Pro Football Focus’ pass blocking efficiency stat. The 49ers have been inconsistent in getting to the quarterback, and it has cost them. Facing a rookie quarterback, it is critical they make him uncomfortable. Their secondary is banged up, and so the key would seem to be getting pass rushers in Josh Rosen’s face.
Two reasons the San Francisco 49ers lose on Sunday
1. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. We can flip the reason they’ll win because that has cost the 49ers with regularity. I could argue San Francisco could have beaten the Vikings in Week 1, the Chargers in Week 4, the Cardinals in Week 5, and the Packers in Week 6, if not for the excess of turnovers. There are no guarantees they’d win those games, but when you have a hugely negative turnover differential in one-possession games, you can see the difference. But if the 49ers end up -2 or worse in turnover differential, I would not be surprised to see them on the losing end of things.
2. The run game. Matt Breida sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and is a question mark for Week 8. He has been their best running back, and one of the most efficient running backs in the NFL. Raheem Mostert has looked good in his place, but losing Breida would be problematic for the offense. If they can’t establish their ground game, the offense could struggle to get going.