Not many teams can comeback from a 29-point loss and still have a shot at their division. But the San Francisco 49ers can do just that Sunday when they take on the Arizona Cardinals.
The 10-4-1 49ers can capture the NFC West for the second straight year with a victory, but should they lose and the Seattle Seahawks win, they can fall to the No. 5 seed in the NFC. San Francisco can also take the No. 2 seed with a win, since they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Green Bay.
San Francisco fell to the Seahawks 42-13 last week, succumbing to quarterback Russell Wilson’s four touchdown passes. It was worst loss for the 49ers this season, and they’ve given up 76 points in their last two games.
The offense struggled throughout the game, and didn’t reach the end zone until Colin Kaepernick hit receiver Delanie Walker with an 18-yard pass with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers offense may continue to struggle with receiver Mario Manningham done for the season after tearing the PCL and ACL in his left knee against Seattle.
The injury bug also hit the San Francisco defense, though defensive tackle Justin Smith will reportedly try to play through a torn triceps muscle that will require surgery in the offseason.
Arizona can deny the 49ers a shot at a first-round bye, but may just want the season to end.
Reports say Sunday will be head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s last game with the Cardinals, as Arizona lost nine of their last 10 games after starting the season 4-0.
The biggest questions for Arizona next season will revolve around their head coach, and especially their quarterback.
Last week, the Cardinals used Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer under center, but fell 28-13 to the Chicago Bears. The quarterbacks combined to go 28-for-49 for 219 yards and two interceptions.
Arizona scored their only touchdown in the fourth quarter after Justin Bethel returned a blocked field goal 82 yards with 1:46 remaining.
The game begins at 4:25 p.m. EDT and will be shown by FOX, or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: San Francisco is favored by 17 points
Over/Under: 39 points
Prediction: The 49ers should attain the NFC West with Kaepernick leading a blowout victory.
Predicted Score: San Francisco 34, Arizona 10