Opponent: vs. Arizona
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line: Cardinals by 10
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Records: 49ers 3-7, Cardinals 8-2
TV/Radio: Ch. 40 (Chris Myers, Ronde Barber), 680, 1320
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Limit giveaways: The Cardinals intercepted the 49ers four times in Week 3 and returned two for touchdowns. New 49ers starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert has done a nice job of avoiding the pass rush and minimizing mistakes in his first two starts. But two of his passes were dropped by Seahawks defenders last week. Had they held on, the perception of Gabbert would be less positive.
Don’t bite on fakes: The Cardinals have perhaps the league’s most aggressive offense. They lead the NFL in points scored and are second in passing plays of 20 or more yards. The 49ers did terrible defending the big play in Week 3, allowing Arizona eight plays of 20 or more yards in the 47-7 loss. This might be 49ers rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt’s toughest test. He’s a hawkish run defender but can’t bite on Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer’s play-action fakes.
Find Vance McDonald: One of Gabbert’s greatest triumphs has been getting production out of former second-round pick Vance McDonald. The big tight end has nice speed for his size, but he has not produced many big plays and has not lived up to his draft status. He seems in sync with Gabbert, however. McDonald, who went into last week’s game with 64 receiving yards, caught four passes for 65 yards against Seattle, including the first touchdown of his career.
Armstead in spotlight: Arizona is sure to test the 49ers’ run defense after Seattle’s Thomas Rawls rushed for 209 yards. Glenn Dorsey, the team’s best run stuffer, is out for the season because of an ACL injury. That means rookie Arik Armstead might get his first NFL start and certainly will play more than usual. Armstead has been good as a pass rusher but needs to be more consistent against the run.
Special teams’ time? The 49ers, the worst team in the NFC West, could use a big special-teams play to topple the Cardinals, the best team in the division. The return game, however, has only been so-so. The 49ers are 16th in punt-return average and 19th in kick returns.
Out: RB Carlos Hyde (foot)
Questionable: LB Ahmad Brooks (concussion)
Probable: DT Arik Armstead (shoulder), WR Anquan Bolden (hamstring), G Alex Boone (triceps), LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder, finger), DT Tony Jerod-Eddie (hip), T Erik Pears (knee), CB Keith Reaser (ankle), S Jaquiski Tartt (knee)
Out: DT Cory Redding (ankle), DT Frostee Rucker (ankle)
Questionable: S Deone Bucannon (concussion), G Jonathan Cooper (knee), WR Michael Floyd (hamstring), CB Patrick Peterson (ankle), DT Ed Stinson (groin)
Probable: WR John Brown (hamstring), DT Calais Campbell (knee), WR Larry Fitzgerald (ankle), G Mike Iupati (neck), RB Chris Johnson (knee)
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