SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

A matchup in the NFC West as the last unbeaten team in the NFL welcomes the San Francisco 49ers to Phoenix. Can Kyler Murray and the Cardinals make it to 5-0 or will the Niners get back on track after losing back to back games. 

Many questioned J.J. Watt when he joined Arizona after claiming he wanted to “play for a Super Bowl contender” but it appears Watt might’ve been on to something in the desert as the Cardinals are the last remaining unbeaten side in the NFL and last week knocked off the Rams, a team many ‘experts’ were calling the best in the league, and they did so with relative ease. Kyler Murray is the MVP favourite after the first quarter of the season and a revitalised A.J. Green has given them two elite outside weapons in the passing game. On defense it’s a hub of talent, speed, versatility and experience who can get after the passer, cover and tackle. This is a Super Bowl calibre team in the Arizona desert. 

The injury bug has once again bitten the Niners as they’ll be without starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo and star TE George Kittle. The absence of Jimmy G means we’ll get a first career start for rookie Trey Lance. Lance was my QB1 in the 2021 NFL Draft (an unpopular take) and whilst I’m excited to see him make his first start and take control of the offense it really will be a difficult task against a good Cardinal defense. WR Debo Samuel has been in great form to start the year and he leads the NFL in receiving yards after 4 weeks, he should be an important part of making Lance comfortable in the offense. As should Fullback Kyle Juszczyk who has back to back games with 4 receptions. 

Although I’m taking the Cardinals to get the win here I wouldn’t be surprised if some Shanahan magic wins the game for San Francisco, I’m also interested to see if he moves away from his outside zone run scheme and runs more of an inside power scheme with Trey Lance and Trey Sermon in the backfield. 

Spread: Niners +5.5

Total Match Points line: U/O 48.5

Game Prediction: Cardinals 30-27 Niners

Best Bet: Deebo Samuel over 5.5 receptions & Kyle Juszczyk over 1.5 receptions @ 15/8 with Bet365 Bet Builder. [0.5]

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