Arizona (1-3) at San Francisco (1-3)
When: Thursday, October 6th 2016
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Time: 8:25 ET | TV: NFL Network
Two teams that are trying to stay out of the NFC West cellar will meet on Thursday Night Football when the Arizona Cardinals visit the San Francisco 49ers. Arizona, who were the trendy pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, have had trouble holding onto the football and are thus 1-3 to start the season. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a concussion in last week’s 17-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams and is doubtful for Thursday’s tilt. The Cardinals will turn to Drew Stanton, who led the Cardinals to a 5-3 finish in the 2014 season in replacing an injured Palmer. Stanton was horrible last week going 4-of-11 passing in the loss to the Rams and his two interceptions upped Arizona’s turnover total to nine during its two-game skid. David Johnson (64 carries, 300 yards, three TDs) leads the NFL with 510 yards from scrimmage and has recorded 100 or more total yards in all four games this season and eight of his last nine overall. Johnson recorded 124 from scrimmage (83 rushing, 41 receiving) versus the Rams. Johnson will be backed-up by Andre Ellington, as veteran Chris Johnson (groin) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
San Francisco had no such trouble with the Rams in Week 1, shutting them out 28-0, but the defense has looked vulnerable in their current three-game skid. Head coach Chip Kelly’s club has allowed 458.3 yards and 35.7 points per game during its three-game losing streak. To add injury to insult, four-time NFL All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman sustained a torn left Achilles in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to Dallas and will miss the rest of the season. San Francisco recorded eight takeaways in its first three games to help offset their 28th-ranked offense, which scored a league-best 45 points off the turnovers after mustering an NFL-worst 25 for the entire 2015 season. The 49ers didn’t force a turnover in last week’s game against the Cowboys and QB Blaine Gabbert’s fourth interception of the season ended his team’s bid for an upset. Carlos Hyde (73 carries, 299 yards, NFC-best five TDs) is averaging 4.9 yards per rush over his last two games, but was limited to just 51 yards in a 47-7 loss at Arizona last September. WR Jeremy Kerley, who had six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown last week, leads the team in catches (18) and receiving yards (202).
Stanton is a capable backup for this team. He’s been there and knows the offense very well. He just wasn’t ready last week. You’ve seen who this San Francisco team really is the last three weeks. Even without Palmer, Arizona should have no trouble getting past the 49ers here tonight.
Pick: Cardinals -3.5