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NFL Week 1 Preview: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Previewing the match-up between the Arizona Cardinals visiting the San Francisco 49ers, focusing on key injuries and game notes.

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WEEK 1 PREVIEWS:
HOU @ KC | NYJ @ BUF | GB @ MIN | PHI @ WAS | CLE @ BAL | IND @ JAX | LV @ CAR | CHI @ DET
SEA @ ATL | MIA @ NE | LAC @ CIN | ARZ @ SF | TB @ NO | DAL @ LAR | PIT @ NYG | TEN @ DEN

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
When: 9/13 @ 4:25pm ET
Watch: FOX
Point Spread: 49ers -6.5
Over/Under: 48.5
Moneyline: Cardinals +240 | 49ers -295

Cardinals Key Injuries: Josh Jones, OT, Ankle (Q), Maxx Williams, TE, Ankle (Q), Robert Alford, CB, Pectoral (IR)
49ers Key Injuries: Jalen Hurd, WR, Knee (IR), Tavon Austin, WR, Knee (IR). Ben Garland, G, Ankle (Q), Weston Richburg, C, Kneecap (PUP), Jason Verrett, CB, Hamstring (Q), Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Hamstring (Q), Deebo Samuel, WR, Foot (Q)

NOTES:

While the 49ers are widely perceived to be the better team in this matchup, the Cardinals played them close last year and had success against the 49ers vaunted defense. The Cardinals have speed all throughout their offense, something the Niners struggled against in 2019. The addition of superstar receiver Deandre Hopkins makes this offense even more potent than last year. A second year leap from quarterback Kyler Murray could have this team shattering expectations as long as the defense is at least average. While not drastically improved from last year in terms of talent, they did fill some gaping holes, notably cover linebacker. Teams destroyed the Cardinals all season long across the middle as poor depth had several players playing out of position. While not uber-talented, the Cardinals defense should be less exploitable than in 2019. If they can create favorable matchups against the 49ers slower secondary, they will have a chance to keep pace with the 49ers seemingly unstoppable ground attack.

The 49ers come into this week 1 contest with a slew of injuries. Center Weston Richburg is out for the forseeable future and guard Ben Garland is questionable for this game as well. These injuries to the interior line could force Jimmy Garoppolo to pass a lot. As good as Garoppolo was against the Cardinals last season, the 49ers do not want to turn this game into a track meet. The health of the 49ers pass catchers and interior linemen will have a big impact on who wins this game. If several key 49ers end up sitting out, this will be a prime upset opportunity for the Cardinals.

Cozine is currently a journalism major at the University of Oregon and part of the SemiPro Media team as a Co-Assistant Editor and Staff Writer. He has a passion for football analytics, as well as studying film to understand what the numbers don't fully capture. Cozine is still holding onto the Jets' Super Bowl win from 1969 to maintain sanity.

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