HomeSportsCardinals & 49ers Trending in Opposite Directions for Week 9 Clash

Cardinals & 49ers Trending in Opposite Directions for Week 9 Clash

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Kliff Kingsbury reacts during the second half of the game against the Green Bay Packers on October 28, 2021.

On paper, the NFL standings don’t lie. The Arizona Cardinals are looking down at the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.

Yes, the Los Angeles Rams are technically below the Cardinals due to their loss in Week 4, thus a tiebreaker going to Arizona. But both are the hierarchy teams in the NFC West, having the same record at 7-1.

The Cardinals will face off at the 49ers for the last time in the regular season in Week 9. In Week 5, their first meeting was a narrow 17-10 victory for Arizona.

San Francisco was in the midst of a four-game losing streak until their road victory against the Chicago Bears on October 31. A couple of days beforehand, the Cardinals lost their first game in heart-breaking fashion to the Green Bay Packers.

Arizona is still four games up in the division, and the 49ers haven’t won a home game since October 18, 2020. Yet, both teams are shifting in opposite directions.

Health Could Play Huge Factor in Matchup

Kyler Murray has missed practice all week with an ankle sprain. It’s not 100% that Murray will be playing against the 49ers either. Murray injured his ankle late in the Cardinals’ loss to the Packers on October 28.

On October 31, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported on Murray’s injury.

“He actually sprained his ankle in that game,” said Glazer. “What I’m told is a one-to-three-week type of sprain, ankle.”

While Kingsbury thinks it’s a game-time decision for Murray, he still has the confidence for the third-year star quarterback on Sunday.

“As long as he’s getting the mental reps, we feel good about him going out there and executing,” said Kingsbury.

Hopkins has missed practice all week as well, dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him to play in only 17 snaps against the Packers.

The extra days of rest could help their chances of playing on Sunday. But don’t forget A.J. Green is likely out Sunday after being placed on the COVID list.

Meanwhile, the Niners are on the upswing in terms of health. It starts with the return of All-Pro tight end George Kittle, who’s coming off a calf injury that derailed him for three weeks on the Injured Reserve.

Garoppolo is happy to have Kittle back.

“It’ll be awesome,” Garoppolo said on Wednesday. “I mean, just having him out there for the walk-through just a little bit ago, you could feel him. He’s got some fresh legs, so his legs are, he’s looking fast right now. So I’m excited to get him back out there. Just another weapon for us. And we’ve got Jeff Wilson coming back too. So it’s a good Wednesday for us.”

Garoppolo returned from a calf injury and had undoubtedly his best game of the year, throwing for 322 passing yards and running for two touchdowns.

While running back Elijah Mitchell will get the majority of the load, who was limited with a ribs injury on November 4, halfback Jeff Wilson Jr. will make his season debut. After Raheem Mostert when down in 2020, Wilson Jr. became the favorite in the backfield in 2020, leading the team in yards.

The 49ers waived kicker Joey Slye on November 2, meaning that veteran Robbie Gould will make a return after being out for five games.

Of course, each team will take this divisional game seriously. But these next two games loom large especially for the 49ers, as they take on the Rams in Week 10. This is their chance to land at .500 and if they lose to the Cardinals, it could be the beginning of the end to their season.

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