After an extra week off, the Arizona Cardinals will get back to work Sunday afternoon without their starting quarterback.
Carson Palmer's likely season-ending injury in the Cardinals' loss to the Rams in London two weeks ago leaves the Cards with backup QB Drew Stanton as they prepare to face the winless 49ers in San Francisco.
As fate would have it, Stanton's last start came at San Francisco last year, when he threw two touchdown passes and guided the Cards to a 33-21 win over the 49ers in a Thursday night game. Can Stanton do it again and move the 3-4 Cardinals back to .500? Here are a pair of predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
Grab a blanket and the fluffiest pillow you can find because this one’s going to be a snoozefest. It won’t be nearly as exciting as the overtime thriller we saw a month ago between these two in Glendale -- then again, that game was a snoozer until overtime. It came down to a perfectly thrown pass from Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald in the back of the end zone to seal the deal. This time around, Palmer won’t be there to bail the Cardinals out.
The Redbirds' chances of winning Sunday in San Francisco heavily depend on Drew Stanton. The Cardinals backup QB started one game last season. It happened to be against the 49ers, it happened to be in San Francisco, and it happened to result in a win for the Cards.
I think the Cardinals defense has a respectable showing on Sunday and Stanton plays well enough to earn himself another win by the Bay. But it won’t be pretty and it won’t be by much.
Cardinals 17, 49ers 12
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
A key to the Cards' success Sunday could be Andre Ellington, the team's best pass-catching running back in David Johnson's absence. Ellington missed the Cardinals' game in London and is questionable for Sunday with a quad injury. Having a safety valve like Ellington to throw to could be critical for Stanton on Sunday.
But even if Ellington doesn't play, the well-rested Cardinals defense should be able to get enough pressure on rookie QB C.J. Beathard (who is likely to start despite the 49ers' acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo), and Adrian Peterson should be productive against one of the NFL's worst rushing defenses.
Look for the Cards to get back to .500 and give fans hope -- even if it's false hope -- heading into Thursday's showdown with the Seahawks in Glendale.
Cardinals 23, 49ers 14