NFL Week 8 Game Preview: 49ers (1-6) at Cardinals (1-6)
Before the season began, there were NFL pundits who theorized the 49ers and Cardinals could compete for playoff spots. The Seahawks were doomed and the Rams would run away with things.
But the 49ers would take advantage of an easy schedule and their dynamic passer Jimmy Garoppolo to put them in contention, and Sam Bradford would feed Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson enough to make Arizona a surprise wild card contender, too.
Garoppolo is done for the season. So is San Francisco’s starting running back Derick McKinnon. Backup passer CJ Beathard is throwing the ball well and can be exciting when he tucks the ball in, but he is also a turnover machine. That has cost the 49ers their season so far.
Arizona doesn’t seem to know what to do with their offense. Bradford was bad enough to bench for rookie Josh Rosen, another exciting young passer with some things that need work.
But more mysteriously, rookie head coach Steve Wilks resists handing the ball to Johnson much. Things have improved a bit recently, but offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was finally fired after the team put up 92 points in their first 7 games.
That was half as many points as they gave up and less than any team other than the Bills. Byron Leftwich was handed the position. Leftwich is a rare holdover from Bruce Arians’ reign. Johnson hopes his usage will better resemble what it was under the former coach.
Injuries and notes
Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen was in a walking boot after last week’s game and did not practice Monday. However, he shed the boot and it is hoped he will play come Sunday.
Offensive guard Mike Iupati (back) sat out practice and Justin Pugh (hand) was limited. Safety Tre Boston also sat out with sore ribs.
Matt Breida rolled his ankle last week and is officially questionable pending re-evaluation.
Safeties Adrian Colbert (ankle), Jaquiski Tartt (stinger), and linebacker Reuben Foster (shoulder) were also injured last week. Cornerback Richard Sherman did not play.
Kyle Shanahan will get a bye from his bosses as injuries derailed the Niners’ season before it could take off. Even in their losing streak, the 49ers look like they have a plan. Shanahan and GM Mike Lynch are in tandem when it comes to football issues. It’s too early to give up on their strategy.
Steve Wilks is off to an awful start in his first head coaching gig. His plan to start the best players no matter what has not been executed well. It’s extremely rare to fire someone after their first season, but Wilks looks woefully overmatched most weeks.
Firing his offensive coordinator was arguably too little, too late. How McCoy got hired just a season after being fired mid-season by the Broncos might prove to be Wilks’ downfall.
How to watch the Cardinals vs 49ers game
Fox Sports will mercifully limit this game broadcast to the teams’ local market. For many viewers in Northern California and Arizona, that means watching the live stream NFL game over Fubo TV.
Fubo takes the original signal from Fox and other NFL producers and delivers it in real time to any internet device.
What’s more, Fubo and other internet providers like Sling and DirecTV Now, don’t require expensive equipment or a contract to provide high quality, live stream NFL action.
Check out their websites to see what they offer in your neighborhood.
Who will win the Cardinals v 49ers game?
Arizona’s sole win came against this same 49ers team in Week 5. San Francisco was down a few starters in that game, as it looks like they might be this week.
We are counting on Byron Leftwich to open up the offense a bit and cut David Johnson loose on the Niners’ defense. The first team to 20, wins.
Final score: Cardinals 20, Niners 17