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San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals 9/21/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

NFL Football: Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm (University of Phoenix Stadium)

The Line: Arizona Cardinals +2 -- Over/Under: 42 See the Latest Odds

TV: FOX

The Arizona Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers in a battle of NFC West teams with postseason potential.

The San Francisco 49ers were stunned on Sunday Night Football in week two, conceding a 17-0 second quarter lead in a 28-20 loss.   The 49ers blocked a punt on the game’s opening drive to open up a 7-0 lead and appeared to be in the driver’s seat early, but the team became conservative in the second half while playing with the lead and eventually found themselves trailing after struggling to cover the Bears talented but injury-riddled receivers.   San Francisco allowed three touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the Bears go-ahead score resulting from a careless interception by QB Colin Kaepernick – one of his three thrown in the loss.  Kaepernick passed for 248 yards while completing 21/34 passes and also rushed for 64 yards on nine carries.  Michael Crabtree led all receivers with 82 yards on seven catches and Frank Gore was efficient with 63 yards on 13 carries.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals 9/21/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers defense should return to their dominant form in this game with Larry Fitzgerald being a difficult target to guard but the Cardinals also lacking a strong QB option with Carson Palmer’s health uncertain at this point in the week.   The Niners defense collected three interceptions off of Tony Romo in week one and could have similar success in this contest.

The Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 to start the year as the team attempts to prove that 2013’s campaign wasn’t a fluke.  Defense has led the way for Arizona as the team ranks third in the league in rushing yards allowed while conceding just 15.5 points per game.  In week two, the Cardinals won 25-14 against the GIants  as the defense collected two interceptions and recovered two fumbles and Ted Ginn Jr. had a 71 yard punt return touchdown for the go-ahead score.  QB Drew Stanton was 14/29 for 167 yards in relief of the injured Carson Palmer as Larry Fitzgerald led all pass catchers with six receptions for 51 yards.  In the backfield, RB Andre Ellington had a big day with 91 yards on 15 carries but his status for Sunday is questionable;  backup RB Jonathan Dwyer will also not be suiting up which really puts the team’s offensive strength in jeopardy.

The Cardinals were 0-2 against the 49ers in 2013 and could have trouble bucking that trend here with one of the weaker home field advantages in the league and key offensive injuries hampering the team’s output.   Arizona’s best hope of competing in this game is likely to follow their formula thus far of playing a slow, low-scoring game.

The 49ers are the better team and have probably had a brutal week of practice under a salty coach Harbaugh which makes them the easy choice here at a reasonable number.  

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San Francisco 49ers -2 (5 units)

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