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Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers - NFL Week 1

Sunday
September 9, 2020
4:25 PM ET

Santa Clara, California
Levi’s Stadium

About the Cardinals

This should be the year QB Kyler Murray takes the league by storm. He showed what he was capable of last season with a mediocre offensive line. Most of his WR’s were injured and the defense didn’t play well. The organization acquired WR DeAndre Hopkins to give Murray not only a legitimate #1 receiver but one of the top 3 WR’s in the league. Hopkins is fearless attacking jump balls and making one-handed contested catches with his incredible leaping ability and should immediately develop a solid rapport with Murray. There is talent on the offensive line with LT D.J. Humphries. LG Justin Pugh and RG J.R. Sweezy but they must develop chemistry and cohesiveness in order to be effective. Then Cardinals got a steal in the draft with the selection of OL Josh Jones from the University of Houston. Jones possesses many of the physical tools necessary to handle NFL pass rushers and should contribute whenever he gets on the field. The Cardinals rewarded S Budda Baker with a 4-year extension worth $59 million with $33.1 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. Baker does so many things for the Cardinals defense as his versatility is a valuable asset. He is a smart and instinctive player who can play multiple positions. Chandler Jones returns for another season and should get back to doing what he does best; terrorizing QB’s. Jones has had 5 consecutive seasons of double-digit sack totals.

About the 49ers

The 49ers dream season turned into a nightmare after they blew a 10- point lead heading into the 4th quarter of Super Bowl LIV. Their elite defense allowed 21 points in the final quarter as they watched their season go down the drain. Many critics have questioned QB Jimmy Garappolo’s ability to close out games and how the 49ers rely too much on their RB’s to bail them out. Everyone must remember that last season was Garappolo’s 1st full season as a starting QB and that he is still learning how to manage the game. He put up decent numbers last year and there is no reason why he shouldn’t improve. The 49ers added OT Trent Williams to an already elite offensive line which should be one of the best units in the NFL. DE’s Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead are arguably the best defensive line edge-rushing duo in the league as they combined for 19 sacks, so don’t be surprised if that total increases.

Players to Watch

Patrick Peterson (Cardinals): Peterson made the Pro Bowl in every season he has ever played in except for this past one. He is still one of the top DB’s in the NFL and should be a major factor helping the Cardinals to compete in a tough NFC West.

Solomon Thomas (49ers): Thomas should be the starter in place of departed DL DeForest Buckner. He possesses the talent to be effective as a pass rusher, but whether he brings similar production compared to Buckner’s will remain to be seen.

Impact Rookies

Isaiah Simmons (Cardinals): A hybrid player with great length and size, the most difficult thing for the Cardinals to decide is what role on the defense he plays and the best fit for him.

Brandon Aiyuk (49ers): Speed, speed, and more speed…. The 49ers plan to utilize Aiyuk’s speed and use him similar to how they used WR Emmanuel Sanders last season. Aiyuk may also be asked to play on special teams.

Prediction

The defending NFC Champions get their running game going and overwhelm and overpower an exhausted and frustrated Cardinals defense as they also control the time of possession.

Final Score: Cardinals 17 / 49ers 28

Daniel I. Outerbridge

Daniel I. Outerbridge

A contributing writer with aspirations and ambitions to become a sports journalist.

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