San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals NFL Football Week 16 Odds, Preview, Prediction and Picks
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals Key Players
|#3 C.J. Beathard SF|
|332 YDS | 2.0 TD | 0 INT|
|#1 Kyler Murray AR|
|3,637 YDS | 26 TD | 11 INT|
The Arizona Cardinals are in the middle of the playoff race for the first time in years, while the San Francisco 49ers have been eliminated from the postseason a year after playing in the Super Bowl.
Saturday's game between the two teams is another example of how quickly things can change in professional football.
Arizona (8-6) is attempting its fifth season sweep in the past six years over San Francisco (5-9), which lost to the Cardinals 24-20 in Week 1 and has lost six of its last seven games overall. .
The Cardinals are currently in seventh and last place in the NFC playoff race. They can clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2015 if they win on Saturday and the Chicago Bears lose or draw against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
C.J. Beathard will make his first start as a 49ers quarterback since 2018 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens injured.
Beathard believes he has become a better player than the quarterback who won one of 10 starts in 2017-18, with 13 interceptions, 12 TDs and a 74.6 rating. He has shown some glimpses in housekeeping this season, and this is an opportunity to show how much he has improved before becoming a free agent this offseason.
Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has received some criticism in Arizona media circles for his lack of time on the practice field. But it's hard to argue with his game production: He leads the NFL with 1,324 receiving yards and was recently selected for his sixth Pro Bowl.
Hopkins willingly called some of those critics earlier in the week. He said he doesn't listen to the local media too much, but that his grandfather tells him about some of the highlights.
One of the bright spots this season for the Niners has been the play of left tackle Trent Williams. A perennial Pro Bowler during his time in Washington, Williams has returned to that form with the 49ers after being out of play all of last season. Williams was voted into his eighth Pro Bowl this week and rated it the most satisfying.
Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen had a great game against the Eagles last weekend, finishing with 11 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a hit quarterback and a defended pass. He was the first defensive lineman to have at least 11 tackles, one sack and one pass defended in a game since New England's Willie McGinest did it in 2003.
Allen, in his second season after being selected in the third round from Boston College, is among a handful of little-known players who have made a big impact on the Cardinals this season.
The Niners have been based in Arizona for the entire month after being kicked out of their local stadium due to coronavirus rules banning contact sports in Santa Clara County.
Many of the players and coaches received a boost this week when several families arrived for the holidays. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he would juggle the schedule to make sure everyone had time with families on Christmas morning.
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|San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals Prediction|
Arizona is struggling to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season. The Cardinals opened the season with a 24-20 win over San Francisco, but this is a very different 49ers team than the one they faced in Week 1. Decimated For injuries and absences related to COVID-19, San Francisco has lost six of its last seven games while scoring just 21.7 points per game during that span.