When this fixture got drawn up, Arizona probably wasn't expecting to turn up to San Francisco with the same record as the 49ers. A popular preseason pick for a return to the NFC Championship game and perhaps a step further; the Cardinals have struggled out of the gate, losing 3 of their first 4 games. It hasn't been the hardest of schedules either, as the Cardinals have slumped to defeats against the New England Patriots short Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, the Buffalo Bills, and the Los Angeles Rams.
Now the Cardinals look to get back on track, without starting quarterback Carson Palmer who remains in the concussion protocol. Arizona turns to Drew Stanton to steady the ship and save a once promising season.
The 49ers face injury issues of their own, most recently losing linebacker NaVorro Bowman for the season. Bowman was one of the few remaining links to the San Francisco teams that made it to three straight NFC Championship games. Without him, the 49ers challenge of stopping David Johnson and a strong Arizona run game will be tougher still.
Hopefully the Jets can learn from what does and does not work today for the 49ers, ahead of facing an Arizona team that will have a longer week of preparation for our Game 5 clash.
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