Players to Watch
QB Troy Smith - The former Heisman winner will be making his third straight start of the year. Smith will be using the rest of the season to audition for next year as many believe the 49ers are done with former first overall pick QB Alex Smith and are in line to draft/trade/pick up a new starter. I am a huge fan of Smith, he has good accuracy, an underrated arm and most importantly, he is a winner. This is a huge game for him and the 49ers who still have a chance at the division.
TE Vernon Davis - Davis has been awfully quiet the last couple of games. Look for Smith to target the big tight end early in the game and get him going. The 6'3" 250 lb burner is a nightmare to match up against, so the worst case is Davis takes on double teams and opens things up for other receivers.
LB Patrick Willis - Willis is the best linebacker in the NFL, unfortunately he is on one of the worst teams so he is still somewhat underrated. It will be fun to watch Willis make plays from sideline-to-sideline tonight. Willis has already racked up 91 tackles, 4 sacks and a forced fumble.
Key Matchup: Frank Gore vs. Cardinals Defense- Frank Gore has really been the 49ers' entire offense this year. He leads the team with 801 rushing yards and receptions with 46. Gore has been the workhorse of the offense and I would not expect anything to change tonight. If the Cardinals defense can stop Gore they can really slow down the 49ers offense.
Why the 49ers Will Win- The 49ers are more talented. The 49ers match up well against the Cardinals team which ranks in the bottom of the NFL in most offensive and defensive categories. If they can run the ball with RB Frank Gore and keep the turnovers down I think they will be able to easily win this game. The 49ers have lost a lot of close games to some good teams, but I do not see them losing to the Cardinals if they play their game.
Prediction: 49ers 31 Cardinals 13