Week twelve of the NFL season concludes with a match-up of NFC West division foes as the San Francisco 49ers (3-7) versus the Arizona Cardinals (3-7). Vegas has picked the 49ers as -1 1/2 point favorites on the road.
San Francisco has not fared well as a road favorite, going 0-3 this year against the spread. The 49ers swept the season series from the Cardinals last season and have won three straight in the series. After an 0-5 start, the 49ers are 3-2. In their last outing, though, they were blanked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 21-0. Troy Smith will start at quarterback even though he was just 16-31 for 148 yards and an INT against the Bucs. Smith is mobile and gained 45 yards last week but he needs to look for the vertical pass in the passing game. The likes of Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree need to get untracked, though Frank Gore has been solid all season with a combined 1,253 yards of total offense. Gore could find some room against the Arizona front seven since the Cards have given-up an average of 135 yards rushing per game with 12 touchdowns. Smith could find success against the Cards secondary as well as opposing quarterbacks have thrown for 16 TDs.
The Cardinals quarterback, Derek Anderson, has been less than impressive, with just 7 TDs vs. 8 INTs. Tim Hightower has been a bright spot in the running game and Larry Fitzgerald is a fixture at receiver. The Cardinals have Steve Breaston back at full strength so that should help free up space for Fitzgerald. San Francisco will provide a tough challenge, though, for this offense. The 49ers defense has held stout most of the season and will look to tee off on Anderson.
This should be a low-scoring game with not much offense. Look for the Cards, though, to squeeze out a win at home and beat the Vegas spread.
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