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49ers game plan vs. Arizona

Published: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 - 11:01 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 - 7:38 am

•  Opponent: at Arizona

•  Time: 1:25 p.m.

•  Line: 49ers by 1

•  Records: 49ers 11-4, Cardinals 10-5

•  TV/radio: FOX (Kenny Albert, play-by-play; Daryl Johnston, color), 680, 1320


Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell vs. 49ers left tackle Joe Staley

To many NFL observers, Campbell is the best defensive lineman in the NFC. The 6-foot-8, 300-pounder has rare height for his position but has the quickness of a smaller man and plays low to the ground. He has eight sacks and eight stuffs – tackles behind the line of scrimmage. His main adversary, Staley, is having another excellent season, and the 49ers have been running the ball well to the left side of their line. Whether the 49ers can move the ball on the ground likely will decide today’s game. The Cardinals are first in the NFL at stopping the run.


• The 49ers must find a way to work No. 2 tight end Vance McDonald into the passing game. The rookie’s confidence is flagging and, more to the point, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is losing confidence in him. The 49ers will need all their weapons for the playoffs.

• If the 49ers rattle Carson Palmer, it should pay dividends. The Arizona quarterback threw four interceptions in Seattle last week and has a 39.9 passer rating this season when he is pressured.

• Today’s game will be a test of the 49ers’ motivation and resolve. They already have made the playoffs. The Cardinals need a win and a Saints loss to claim the No. 6 seed. If they don’t get both, their season is over.



•  Out: WR Mario Manningham (knee)

•  Questionable: LB Dan Skuta (foot)

•  Probable: LB Navorro Bowman (wrist), CB Tarell Brown (ribs), WR Michael Crabtree (wrist), C Jonathan Goodwin (not injury-related), RB Frank Gore (knee), G Mike Iupati (knee), WR Kassim Osgood (shin), TE Vance McDonald (ankle), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)


•  Questionable: LB John Abraham (groin), G Daryn Colledge (back), S Rashad Johnson (ankle)

•  Probable: LB Darnell Dockett (shoulder), RB Rashard Mendenhall (finger), TE Rob Housier (groin), T Nate Potter (ribs), QB Carson Palmer (right elbow), LB Matt Shaughnessy (groin), QB Drew Stanton (knee), LB Daryl Washington (ankle)

– Matthew Barrows


Date Opponent Results
Sept. 8Green BayW, 34-28
Sept. 15at SeattleL, 29-3
Sept. 22IndianapolisL, 27-7
Sept. 26at St. LouisW, 35-11
Oct. 6HoustonW, 34-3
Oct. 13ArizonaW, 32-20
Oct. 20at TennesseeW, 31-17
Oct. 27at JacksonvilleW, 42-10
Nov. 3BYE
Nov. 10CarolinaL, 10-9
Nov. 17at New OrleansL, 23-20
Nov. 25at WashingtonW, 27-6
SundaySt. LouisW, 23-13
Dec. 8SeattleW, 19-17
Dec. 15at Tampa BayW, 33-14
Dec. 23AtlantaW, 34-24
Date Opponent Time
Dec. 29at Arizona1:25 p.m.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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