Intriguing Game- Week One 

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Cardinals: After Kurt Warner, the quarterback position was highly questionable. Then came Bruce Arians and he brings Carson Palmer with him. Since then, it’s been a quarterback by committee until last season. Kyler Murray was the Cardinals first pick in the draft last April. Without a doubt, he will be the franchise quarterback for the next decade. After winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Kyler is looking to build off his rookie year. Arizona made one of the biggest moves of the off-season. They acquired DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans giving Kyler a number one receiver. Also in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first pick, they selected Isaiah Simmons from Clemson. I loved Isaiah’s game in college. I can’t wait to see what he does in the league. A new year begins. They will start it out against the NFC champs.

49ers: Talk about coming out of left field. The NFC has been unpredictable the last few years. Being healthy does indeed make the difference. Jimmy Garoppolo goes down with a torn ACL in 2018. From that point, the season went down the drain. Last season, he returns, and the San Francisco 49ers win the NFC West, clinch the top seed in the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. A big reason why they were so successful was their defense. Although they lost DeForest Buckner, they found his replacement in Javon Kinlaw. The defense won’t miss a step. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead are still here. The running game was also no slouch either. To replace Emmanuel Sanders, they drafted Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State. A new season is set to begin with a divisional showdown on Sunday. It’s the opener for the NFC Champs.

Cardinals X-Factor: Christian Kirk– I think he’ll benefit greatly from DeAndre’s presence. Fitz will still command attention from secondaries, get where I’m going with this? He may be their most versatile player. He runs jet sweeps, plays in the slot and returns punts. I’ve compared him to Sterling Shepard. Just as Sterling does, Christian has the speed to challenge defenses down the field. He’s also that guy with big play potential.

49ers X-Factor: Solomon Thomas– You better have game if you have two first names. He’s the hidden gem of this San Francisco defensive line. This is a defensive lineman who can play inside as a tackle or line up on the edges as an end. I look for him to make life miserable up front for Kyler Murray up front. This Niners d-line will set the tone again this year. He will be filling a big role with DeForest Buckner now on the Indianapolis Colts.

Final Thoughts: Last season, Arizona gave them all they could handle in both meetings. The matchup everybody will be watching is Hopkins and Sherman for sure. The Niners must do everything they can to keep Kyler Murray in front of them. Play him as you would Russell Wilson. Don’t let him get loose or escape. For Arizona, limit the 49ers running game. Put the ball in the hands of Jimmy G. When the Niners get to running the football, there isn’t a team who can limit them. I can’t wait to see DeAndre play. Expect a closely contested battle between these two one aagin.

Prediction: 49ers 24 Cardinals 17



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