The Cardinals got spanked 23-7 the last time they saw the Niners, but will Patrick Willis' hamstring injury, the recent success the Cardinals have seen and home-field advantage be enough to power the Cardinals past the 49ers?
Let's take a closer look at how these two teams match up.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona
When: Sunday, December 11 at 4:05 p.m. EST
Spread: San Francisco -4
This is an easy pick. Even if they have to go into battle without No. 52, the 49ers still have the best defense in the league. They stomped the Cardinals at Candlestick, and with Beanie Wells unable to go anywhere, the Cardinals won't be able to score on the vaunted run defense.
Do you like the over or under in this game?
Go with the under. The Cardinals are going to have to throw to score, which won't render a positive result. The 49ers have scored 25 or less, eight times this season. Neither one of these teams is going to unleash an offensive masterpiece.
Key Injuries (according to NFL.com)
San Francisco Injuries
|Patrick Willis||LB||Hamstring||Did Not Participate In Practice||Questionable|
|Tarell Brown||CB||Ankle||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Braylon Edwards||WR||Knee||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Carlos Rogers||CB||Knee||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Todd Heap||TE||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Joey Porter||LB||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Kerry Rhodes||S||Foot||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Michael Adams||CB||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Sean Considine||S||Achilles||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Darnell Dockett||DT||Quadricep||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Chris Wells||RB||Knee||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Dave Zastudil||P||Biceps||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
Fantasy Big Plays
It's bizarre to have a defense as a big fantasy play, but it's fitting here. The 49ers haven't allowed a rushing touchdown all season long. They've got to throw to win, and the 49ers secondary is going to feast on the Cardinals' passing game, just as they did when they forced three picks in their first meeting with Arizona.
Larry Fitzgerald has 55 or less yards in four of his last five outings. While that raises a red flag, he's also got four touchdowns in that span—with Kevin Kolb being forced to throw the ball, you should see a monster day from Fitz.
Keys to 49ers Win
Stay hungry. The 49ers can't afford to buy into their hype now. They've done a great job of staying hungry and focused thus far, and it's hard to see Jim Harbaugh's squad losing sight of their goals.
The 49ers have a serious shot at sweeping the division and obtaining a first-round bye. They can't get caught up in their Monday night matchup with the Steelers the following week.
Will Beanie Wells find the end zone on Sunday?
Keys to Cardinals Win
Keep feeding Beanie Wells. Teams are prone to giving up on the run against the 49ers—but with Willis out of the lineup, Wells and the Cardinals have a chance to prove that the 49ers defense isn't impenetrable.
Abandoning the run and trying to get involved in a shootout won't bode well for the Cardinals. Wells is on a tear. The big man has to get the ball.
49ers 24, Cardinals 14