49ers week 9 preview and prediction: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco

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Kyle Shanahan will not have his new QB under center this week as he seeks his first win as head coach against the Cardinals.

After falling to 0-8 on the year, the San Francisco 49ers injected a glimmer of hope to a flailing organization and fanbase when they traded for New England QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers saw enough of embattled journeyman QB Brian Hoyer. C.J. Beathard didn’t embolden the front office with confidence to move forward with him at the helm, and in no alternate universe was Beathard going to be the starting QB for the 49ers going in 2018.

In a separate move, San Francisco traded beleaguered CB Rashard Robinson to the NY Jets in exchange for a 5th round pick. Niner fans everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. Robinson showed flashes of promise his rookie year. After earning the starting role in training camp, Robinson has been one of the worst corners in the league. Quarterbacks are completing over 40 percent of their passes when targeting him and he leads the league in penalties with 8 on the year.

San Francisco will continue their quest for their first win when they play the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona presumably lost their QB Carson Palmer for the year with a broken forearm. After losing All-Pro RB David Johnson on they year with a broken wrist, the Cardinals traded for future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson.

The Niners are also dealing with key injuries. S Jimmie Ward broke his forearm and T Garry Gilliam injured his knee, and both were placed on season ending injured reserve. Veteran Pro-Bowl T Joe Staley injured his orbital bone and rookie DE Solomon Thomas went down with a knee injury. Thomas and Staley will not return until after the 49ers bye week, which would have them returning in the latter part of November at the earliest. The attrition the 49ers faced against the Eagles will force the team to release and place injured players on IR in an attempt to sign lineman to play Arizona.

San Francisco will trot C.J. Beathard out another week as Jimmy Garoppolo gets up to speed and San Francisco will again attempt to win their first game when they host the Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium at 1:05 p.m. PT and can be watched on the FOX Network.

Essentials to win the game
The Niners have to control the line of scrimmage in order to win. Offensively, San Francisco allowed C.J. Beathard to be battered against the Eagles. Beathard was hit on 60 percent of his drop backs and the cumulative effect was evident in the latter part of the game. Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida need to have huge games if the 49ers are to win. If these two can get going through out the day, the 49ers stand a chance.

Defensively, San Francisco has to corral Adrian Peterson and force Arizona QB Drew Stanton to beat them. If the 49ers can limit Stanton’s downfield passes, he has shown that he will make a mistake in which the 49ers can capitalize upon. If San Francisco allows Peterson to run roughshod over them, they will fall to 0-9.

Possible downfalls to avoid
The 49er gameplan for victory is simple: protect the ball and limit penalites. The 49ers don’t have room to make mistakes. They have had critical drives stall on offense and extend on defense because of mental gaffes. This roster has been ravaged by injuries, as have many rosters throughout the league. The 49ers are a special case because the roster was so defunct and deficient of talent due to the abhorrent tenure of Trent Baalke as the GM.

If the Niners can limit Peterson in the run game and limit their defensive penalties, Drew Stanton is not someone that will light up the defense. San Francisco needs only to play with the defensive intensity and discipline that they played with against Philadelphia in order to emerge victorious.

Player spotlight
The return of 49ers rookie LB Reuben Foster will bode well in the attempt to contain Adrian Peterson. It is imperative that Foster fly around on defense and make plays. In order to keep them in contention, San Francisco will need Foster to near 15 tackles for the game.

Game Projection
This game is going to be ugly. San Francisco and Arizona will not have the same fireworks they had when they met in Arizona. In the previous matchup, Brian Hoyer and Carson Palmer led their respective franchises to an overtime spectacle. On Sunday, Beathard and Stanton will flail in attempt to will their teams to victory.

Arizona is coming off of a bye week and is relatively healthy along their lines. Arizona will have the requisite pieces to run the ball. 49er second year lineman Deforest Buckner and DL Earl Mitchell will be disruptive in the run game allowing Reuben Foster to plow through Adrian Peterson. Peterson will end the day with 80 yards and a score.

Drew Stanton will look to go down field in an attempt to connect with WRs Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson. Larry Fitzgerald will again dominate in his last battle against the 49ers. Drew Stanton will end the day with 200 yards 2 touchdowns and 2 INTs.

Arizona is going to put immense pressure on the interior line of the Niners offense. Cardinal’s DT Frostee Rucker and LBs Deone Bucannon and Karlos Dansby will wreak havoc along the line. All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson will render San Francisco WR Pierre Garçon ineffective. 49ers TE George Kittle and slot WR Trent Taylor will both score.

San Francisco will provide creases for Hyde and Breida to exploit, and one of the two will have a long run for a touchdown. The 49ers will have 200 yards on the ground, and Beathard will pass for 180 yards 2 touchdowns and an INT.

The Niners currently sit as a 2 point underdog and are 4-4 against the spread for the year. San Francisco will not cover the two points this week and will close out the Beathard era with another loss at home to fall 0-9 on the year in a 24-21 defeat.


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