San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals: A Recipe for a Niners Victory
I eat a lot of spaghetti.
How come, you ask?
It’s the simplicity of the recipe: boil water in pot, add pasta and heat up sauce.
That’s it; easy as 1, 2, 3.
The San Francisco 49ers are using this approach in creating simple gameplans custom tailored to each opponent.
And the formula is working to the joyful tune of a 10-2 record with more wins on the horizon.
Here’s a look at this week’s recipe for a 49ers victory in this afternoon’s game at Arizona.
Easy as 1, 2, 3.
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It’s not Lakers vs. Celtics.
And it’s nowhere near Yankees vs. Red Sox.
At this point in the season, the San Francisco-Arizona rivalry is more like brothers fighting for the last slice of pizza. There will be some yelling, shoving and maybe a couple punches thrown.
That’s exactly what happened in their last meeting, a 23-7 win for the 49ers. Early holiday gifts were exchanged in the form of punches and dirty plays, resulting in a total of $60,000 in fines handed out to the participants.
San Francisco has already wrapped up the division with a pretty little bow, but don’t expect the Cardinals to just roll over, and they definitely won’t roll out the red carpet for their division foes.
These teams have created a tame rivalry over the years. They know each other, they dislike each other and they both want to emerge triumphant.
Arizona, playing at home, will put up a much better fight this time around. Their starting quarterback is finally healthy and will be looking to throw in the direction of star receiver Larry Fitzgerald all afternoon.
It will be a battle, but the 49ers will ultimately get that last slice of pizza.
A Heavy Foot on the Gas Pedal
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The San Francisco 49ers are on a mission that is only just beginning.
After winning the NFC West last Sunday, the 49ers remain as hungry as ever.
The entree was a division crown, a slightly satisfying meal that left their appetites unfulfilled. Now they’re eyeing the cheesecake as they shift their focus to securing the highest seed possible.
A No. 1 seed would be ideal, but the Green Bay Packers appear to have a firm grip on that spot.
The No. 2 seed, however, remains a realistic possibility.
But it’s not something the team can coast into on cruise control, especially with the red-hot New Orleans Saints right on their tail.
The ingredient here is a heavy foot on the gas pedal.
This afternoon’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals is a potential trap game the team must avoid falling into. The Cardinals have won three of their last four and are improving each week.
With Harbaugh in charge, look for the 49ers to be ready and come out attacking. The playbook will continue to open up and the defense will maintain their domination.
Red Zone Woes
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And the broken record keeps spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning, playing the same discouraging song: The 49ers offense is failing to capitalize on red zone trips.
Guess what? That broken record will keep spinning until it’s fixed.
The 49ers remain at the bottom of the league in red zone percentage, but will look to improve upon that against the host Cardinals.
It should prove to be a tall task, as the Cardinals defense ranks ninth in the NFL in red zone scoring, allowing opponents to score in only 45 percent of their visits.
The key ingredient for success in the red zone is creative play calling. Throughout the season, the offense has struggled in the red zone with overly conservative and predictable play calling.
I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure seven points is more than three. In fact, my calculator has also convinced me that seven points is greater than six, which is the amount of two field goals. What I’m trying to say here is that the team has to open the playbook more in the red zone and take chances. Roll Smith out, run out of pass formations and throw out of run formations. More touchdowns will equate to more points, and more points will equate to more wins.
Expect the offense to break out of its conservative shell for this afternoon and hopefully the rest of the season. Maybe that will fix the broken record.