San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Matchup Preview (12/26/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
Apart from two San Francisco wins last season, the Cardinals have had the 49ers’ number with wins in nine of their last eleven matchups. That looks likely to continue this week, as the 49ers come into this game as one of the most injured teams in the entire NFL. Despite all of the hardships they’ve endured this season, Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh have done a great job of keeping their respective units playing smart, controlled football. San Francisco has been eliminated from the playoffs, but they’ll have plenty of motivation to play spoiler to a currently playoff-bound Cardinals team. With the Bears at 7-7 and hot on their tail, the Cardinals will have to keep winning in order to secure a spot in the postseason. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Matchup Page.
Date: Saturday, December 26th, 2020
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium – Phoenix, AZ
TV Coverage: NBC
49ers vs. Cardinals Live Stream
Where can you watch 49ers vs. Cardinals online? You can stream this game and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch 49ers vs. Cardinals Free Online Now.
Sam Francisco 49ers: CB Richard Sherman (calf) Q, DT Javon Kinlaw (knee) Q, FS Jimmie Ward (concussion) Q, DB Tarvarius Moore (knee) Q, C Hroniss Grasu (knee) Q, DE Dion Jordan (knee) Q, WR Richie James (ankle) Q, WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) O, QB Nick Mullens (elbow) O, WR Trent Taylor (COVID-19) IR, RB JaMycal Hasty (collarbone) IR eligible to return
Arizona Cardinals: WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) Q, CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) Q, RB Chase Edmonds (ankle) Q, LB Haason Reddick (shoulder) Q, OG Justin Pugh (calf) Q, FS Jalen Thompson (ankle) Q, TE Maxx Williams (ankle) Q, TE Darrell Daniels (hamstring) Q, LB Dennis Gardeck (knee) Q, LB Kylie Fitts (hamstring) Q, DE Josh Mauro (hamstring) IR eligible to return, CB Robert Alford (COVID-19) IR
San Francisco 49ers Analysis
The 49ers sit at 5-9, and this season hasn’t gone nearly the way this team expected after a 13-3 record and Super Bowl appearance last year. After finishing as the 2nd-highest-scoring offense and the 8th-best scoring defense last season, San Francisco ranks just 20th in points scored and 17th in points against this season. An absurd level of injuries on both sides of the ball has been the primary culprit, and this Niners team hardly represents the squad that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season.
Offensively, things have stalled out for Kyle Shanahan’s group. The passing offense has struggled regardless of who’s been under center for the team as they have a collective passer rating of 87.7, the 10th-worst among all NFL teams. Jimmy Garoppolo is unlikely to return this season, and Nick Mullens is likely out for the remainder of the year as well, leaving CJ Beathard to start at quarterback. Josh Rosen was signed to the team to provide some insurance, as well.
At running back, Raheem Mostert is set to miss the remainder of the season, which leaves Jeff Wilson Jr. as the starter. Mostert had led the team in rushing with 521 yards, but Wilson leads the team in rushing touchdowns with 6. Wilson has scored a touchdown in two straight games, but he has surpassed 100 rushing yards just once all year. Jerick McKinnon is back in the picture as well, but it’s hard to imagine this rushing offense producing much given the injuries all over the offense.
Rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk has burst onto the scene recently and leads the team with 733 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, despite a total lack of consistency at quarterback. George Kittle and Deebo Samuel are likely to miss the remainder of the season, so Aiyuk is likely to continue demanding a massive target share. Kendrick Bourne has 43 catches for 575 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well.
The offensive line has been a problem spot for the 49ers, as well, with injuries to Hroniss Grasu, Ben Garland, Weston Richburg, and Tom Compton destroying the interior. Trent Williams and Laken Tomlinson have been a dominant duo on the left side, while Mike McGlinchey has been solid, but the unit overall has struggled recently.
Defensively, the 49ers have more injuries than I ever thought possible, but they still allow just 314.3 yards per game, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Credit to Robert Saleh as he’s mixed and matched several groups of players this season. Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Ezekiel Ansah, Jaquiski Tartt, Dee Ford, Ronald Blair, and Jimmie Ward have all been lost for the season.
San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart
Arizona Cardinals Analysis
In Kliff Kingsbury’s second season as the Cardinals’ head coach, he’s led his team to an 8-6 record. They’re on the verge of a playoff spot with the 10th-best scoring offense and the 13th-best scoring defense. Arizona currently sits in the 7 seed in the NFC with an 8-6 record.
Kyler Murray has had a tremendous season with 3,637 passing yards and 26 touchdowns to 11 interceptions through 14 games, along with 741 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Last week, he showed that he’s past his shoulder injury as he ran for his first touchdown since Week 10 and threw for 3 touchdowns against a tough secondary in the Eagles. While Murray isn’t the MVP candidate he looked like early in the year, he’s still a dynamic threat with his arms and legs, which can make plays for his team at any time.
Arizona’s rushing production has extended to Kenyan Drake, who has run for 874 yards and 9 touchdowns on 211 carries, as well as Chase Edmonds, who has run for 451 yards and a touchdown on 94 carries. The Cardinals rank fourth in the NFL with 147.8 rushing yards per game.
DeAndre Hopkins has been excellent this season, his first year with Arizona, as he leads the team with 103 catches for 1,324 yards and 6 touchdowns. Christian Kirk has been less consistent, but he has contributed with 545 catches and 6 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Dan Arnold and Chase Edmonds have caught 4 touchdowns each of their own.
The Cardinals’ offensive line has taken a massive step forward this season. D.J. Humphries has been one of the best left tackles in the NFL, while Kelvin Beachaum has been excellent on the right side. The continuity with the group of Justin Murray, Mason Cole, and J.R. Sweezy on the interior has been important as well.
Defensively, the Cardinals have several exciting playmakers. The pass rush has struggled after the loss of Chandler Jones, but Hasson Reddick has been excellent off the edge with 11 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss. Budda Baker and Cyrus Banjo have been one of the best safety duos in football, while Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick have been a solid if inconsistent cornerback pairing. The Cardinals still have some work to do defensively, but their big-play ability makes them a threat to take advantage of a weakened Niners offense.
Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart
Spread: Cardinals -5, 49ers +5
Moneyline: Cardinals -230, 49ers +195
Over/Under: 49 points
The 49ers’ injuries caught up to them last week as they gave up 41 points to the Cowboys, and that doesn’t bode well for them as they take on the Cardinals’ offense. With Richard Sherman injured along with other San Francisco secondary defenders, DeAndre Hopkins is likely to take over this game. I’m betting on the Cardinals to cover this small spread at home. The total has gone over in 5 of Arizona’s last 5 games at home, so I’m leaning that direction on the spread as well.
My predictions: Cardinals win 30-23, Cardinals cover, over 49 points
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Jeff Wilson Jr.
Raheem Mostert was ruled out for the remainder of the season for San Francisco, leaving Jeff Wilson as the team’s top running back. The Cardinals have been a middle-of-the-pack run defense, and the Kyle Shanahan offense has been very conducive to fantasy success. Wilson provides a steady baseline with top-10 RB upside this week.
With an average of 13 targets per game over the past four weeks, Brandon Aiyuk has been one of the most targeted players in the NFL. Aiyuk is a very talented pass-catcher who can get involved in a variety of ways in this offense. Despite the switch to CJ Beathard at quarterback, I trust in Aiyuk’s talent to win out in a plus matchup.
With Richard Sherman injured, among other secondary injuries for San Francisco, I’m very high on DeAndre Hopkins this week. He leads the NFL in receiving yards and has been an elite fantasy receiver. The Niners have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers over the past three weeks, and I’m expecting Hopkins to take advantage of a plus matchup in a big way.