Opponent: at Arizona Cardinals
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Line: 49ers by 7
Records: 49ers 5-2, Cardinals 4-3.
TV/radio: ESPN, 680, 1320: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Jon Gruden (color).
MATCHUP TO WATCH
49ers safety Dashon Goldson vs. Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals snapped a five-game losing streak to the 49ers last December thanks to three big pass plays, two of them to Fitzgerald. On one, Fitzgerald outdueled Goldson in the air for a ball, then ran 46 yards for the touchdown. That was a theme for the 49ers' defense last season short or intermediate passes that went for big gains or touchdowns after San Francisco was overaggressive or missed tackles. The 49ers, however, mostly have eliminated those plays this season, and Goldson is coming off an excellent game vs. the run and the pass against the Seahawks.
THREE KEYS TO GAME
The 49ers' front four defenders must take advantage of a battered offensive line that has allowed a league-worst 35 sacks. Rattling quarterback John Skelton should lead to interceptions. He threw two in last year's win over the 49ers.
The 49ers likely will lean on their surging running attack. Still, quarterback Alex Smith must hit deep passes when they are available. He missed opportunities early in an Oct. 18 win over the Seahawks.
Cardinals special-teams return man Patrick Peterson has been held in check this season but could break out anytime. The 49ers' coverage units rebounded against the Seahawks; a lapse tonight would be costly.
- Matthew Barrows
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