Opponent: at Arizona
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line: Cardinals by 6 1/2
Records: 49ers 1-1, Cardinals 2-0
TV/Radio: Ch. 40 (Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis), 810, 1320
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
In too deep: The 49ers’ secondary was terrible against the deep pass in Pittsburgh and the Cardinals have similarities to the Steelers’ air attack. They have a veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer and a young wide receiver in John Brown, who averaged 14.5 yards a catch last season. Previous 49ers’ defenses were predicated on preventing big pass plays. The 49ers must revisit that rule on Sunday.
Right-side woes: It’s no mystery where the weaknesses are on the 49ers’ offensive line. Right tackle Erik Pears obviously struggles with speed pass rushers. The 49ers must decide on passing downs whether to send their tight ends downfield and give Colin Kaepernick more targets or keep one of them back to help in pass protection.
More Miller: In 2014, there was a correlation between the number of snaps fullback Bruce Miller played and the 49ers’ win-loss column. Through two games, San Francisco has favored three-tight end sets instead of a fullback. But with two of those tight ends – Vance McDonald and Blake Bell – nicked this week, it could mean a busier Sunday for Miller.
Rough and ready: Carlos Hyde, who missed two games last year as Frank Gore’s understudy, already is a bit banged up heading into Week 3. Hyde’s strength is his ability to break tackles and it often takes two or three defenders to bring him down. But that style also exposed Hyde to several big hits Sunday, and it’s hard to see him staying healthy through 16 games. Jim Tomsula doesn’t want to change Hyde’s “DNA,” but the 49ers may need to rest him more often throughout the year.
Not many happy returns: Remember when the 49ers’ punt-return game was the most exciting aspect of the team? Through two games the 49ers have one of the lowest return averages in the league and have fumbled away a punt. Jarryd Hayne had one good opportunity in Pittsburgh but seemed to stumble over a trip line after a short gain. DeAndrew White’s best return started out well ... until he began to run backward. The team can use its youth and inexperience on special teams as an excuse for now but not much longer.
Out: RB Reggie Bush (calf)
Questionable: WR Bruce Ellington (ankle), TE Vance McDonald (knee)
Probable: TE Blake Bell (back), G Alex Boone (shoulder), LB NaVorro Bowman (not injury related), RB Carlos Hyde (quadriceps), WR Torrey Smith (knee)
Out: WR J.J. Nelson (shoulder)
Doubtful: RB Andre Ellington (knee)
Questionable: G Mike Iupati (knee)
Probable: S Deone Bucannon (groin), S Tony Jefferson (hamstring), LB Alex Okafor (shoulder), LB LaMarr Woodley (shoulder)
vs. Green Bay
at N.Y. Giants
at St. Louis
vs. St. Louis