The tables have certainly turned in the NFC West. A year after playing the role of spoiler, the Cardinals are currently poised to make a playoff run with two games remaining in the regular season. Standing in their way are the 49ers, who have been eliminated from postseason contention a year after winning the NFC title. In a foreshadowing of what was to come in 2020, a late Kyler Murray touchdown was the difference in Arizona’s Week 1 win over the 49ers. A win on Sunday would give the Cardinals their 10th win over the 49ers over their last 12 matchups.
The Cardinals are 3.5-point favorites to beat the 49ers, according to William Hill Sportsbook, with the over/under set at 49 points. Both teams are 7-7 against the spread and 5-9 on the over/under this season. Click here to see who are CBS Sports NFL experts picked to win and cover this game and the other Week 16 matchups.
Before we preview Sunday’s game, here’s how to follow the action in real time.
How to watch
Date: Saturday, Dec. 26 | Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
TV: None | Stream: Amazon Prime
Follow: CBS Sports App
The Cardinals have received an MVP caliber season from Murray, who has thrown 26 touchdowns and has rushed for 11 more scores. He has developed an immediate rapport with receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has caught 103 passes for 1,324 and six touchdowns through 14 games. Arizona’s improved defensive has been led by Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker (104 tackles, two interceptions), cornerback Patrick Peterson (three interceptions, eight passes defensed) and outside linebacker Haason Reddick (11 sacks, five forced fumbles).
Injuries have plagued the 49ers, who have managed to remain competitive in most of their games despite placing several starters on injured reserve during various parts of the season. The 49ers’ offense has received solid play from rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who leads the team in receptions (59), receiving yards (733) and touchdowns (five). San Francisco’s defense has been paced by Pro Bowl linebacker Fred Warner (101 tackles, two interceptions) and defensive end Kerry Hyder (7.5 sacks).
While the 49ers boast the NFL’s fourth-ranked pass defense and fifth-ranked run defense, their effectiveness has been hindered by San Francisco’s turnover-prone offense that has committed at least two turnovers in each of the team’s last eight games. If the 49ers’ offense can cut down on their turnovers, this game should be close heading into the final minutes. But if the 49ers’ offensive miscues continue, the Cardinals will likely sweep their division foe for the second time in three years.
Score: Cardinals 27, 49ers 20