The Arizona Cardinals are on the verge of making the NFC playoffs, needing just a win and a Chicago Bears loss to clinch their first playoff berth in five years. Arizona has the opportunity to put all the pressure on Chicago Saturday, squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers — eliminated from postseason contention a year after capturing the NFC title. The Cardinals have won nine of their last 11 meetings against the 49ers, including their Week 1 thriller that set the tone for the changing of the guard in the NFC West.
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.
Can the Cardinals put pressure on the Bears by beating the 49ers? We’ll find out soon, but here’s a preview of Saturday’s NFL West showdown.
How to watch
Despite concerns over a shoulder injury, Kyler Murray has been getting hot at the right time. Murray has 22 passing touchdowns and six interceptions over his past 10 games, and he’s rushed for 554 yards and seven touchdowns in that span. Murray led DeAndre Hopkins to a season-high 169 receiving yards in a Week 15 win over the Eagles, which will be huge heading into this game. Hopkins has had at least 10 catches and 100 receiving yards in each of his last two meetings against the 49ers, which will be needed against a top-five passing defense.
The 49ers have turned the ball over at least two times in eight straight games, the NFL’s longest active streak. Their 29 turnovers rank second in the NFL, which is less than ideal against a Cardinals defense that has 14 sacks over their last two games — the most they have had in consecutive games in a single season since the final two games of the 1983 season when they had 17 sacks. San Francisco is in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks allowed with 33, which might allow the Cardinals pass rush to feast again.
The Cardinals have everything to play for while the 49ers are just playing out the string. George Kittle’s return will make a difference, but Arizona has enough riding on the line to avoid the upset.