Predictions: Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers in an NFC West matchup

Posted at 1:11 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 16:32:48-04

Despite an impressive debut from rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, the Arizona Cardinals head into Sunday's matchup as the NFL's only winless team.

The Cards will head to the Bay Area this weekend to face the 1-3 San Francisco 49ers in an NFC West division game. Can Arizona avoid its first 0-5 start in 40 years? Here are a pair of predictions from the ABC15 sports team.

ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy

The Cardinals are 0-4 so far this season, and things aren’t looking all that much brighter this weekend in Santa Clara.

The 49ers are sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game, averaging more than 133 yards per game on the ground. Running back Matt Breida has 313 yards rushing and he leads the league with six runs over 20 yards. Add to that the fact that the Cards' defense is 31st in the league against the run, and Arizona could be in for a long day.

On offense, Arizona’s receivers must catch the ball and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has to be more aggressive in his play calling. Oh, and Steve Wilks has to play to win the game, not play to avoid losing. 49ers 21, Cardinals 19 sportswriter Shane Dale

Some smarter, slightly more aggressive play-calling could have the Cardinals 2-2 right now, but here we are. The good news is Josh Rosen breathed some desperately needed life into Arizona's anemic offense with an impressive debut vs. the Seahawks that would have been even better if not for five dropped passes.

As Coach Fouhy noted, the Cards have struggled mightily against the run, and the combo of Matt Breida and Alfred Morris should cause those struggles to continue. The Cardinals might be able to generate some pressure on 49ers QB C.J. Beathard, who has stepped into to replace the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. But Beathard passed for nearly 300 yards vs. a decent Chargers defense last week, and the Cardinals will have problems containing tight end and emerging star George Kittle. 

The Cards will have to wait at least one more week to get their first victory of the season -- and possibly longer, with a road matchup vs. the Vikings looming. 49ers 27, Cardinals 20