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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory vs. the Cardinals

Sep 30, 2023 at 8:35 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers (3-0) host the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) on Sunday. The Cardinals are coming off their first win of the Jonathan Gannon era against the Dallas Cowboys. Expect the Cardinals to get out to a fast start and play very aggressively. If the 49ers want to improve to 4-0, here are the keys to victory.

Limit the Mobility of the QB

The 49ers must contain quarterback Joshua Dobbs and play disciplined football out on the edge. Dobbs rushed for 55 yards on six attempts. He has rushed the ball ten times for 93 yards and a touchdown on the season. Dobbs has three fumbles on the season, so the 49ers defense needs to make him pay when he does attempt to rush the ball, remain disciplined, and have no personal fouls.

Eliminate the Run

The Cardinals have six rushers so far this season: James Conner (RB), Josh Dobbs (QB), Rondale Moore (WR), Keontay Ingram (RB), Marquise Brown (WR), and Emari Demercado (RB). The Cardinals are ranked seventh in rushing with 469 yards, averaging 156.3 yards per game. The 49ers rank third against the run, allowing 159 yards on the season and giving up an average of 53 yards per game. The 49ers' defensive front must avoid letting the offensive line get to the linebackers. Expect Fred Warner, Oren Burks, Dre Greenlaw, and nickel Isaiah Oliver to limit the big plays from the Cardinals' rushers.

Apply Pressure

The Cardinals' offensive line has only allowed 14 pressures this season, with three resulting in sacks. 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa should match up with rookie right tackle Paris Johnson Jr. Johnson Jr. is responsible for one of the three sacks this season. The other two sacks were on guards Will Hernandez and Elijah Wilkinson.

Expect the 49ers defensive tackles Javon Hargrave (two sacks), Arik Armstead (nine pressures), Javon Kinlaw (ten pressures), and Kevin Givens (one sack) to take advantage of the opposing teams' guards. The 49ers defense has a total of 58 pressures on the season. If the defense can continue to apply the pressure, it will force Dobbs to make mistakes. Expect Dobbs to throw his first interception of the season.

Execution in the Red Zone

The 49ers are tied for third with the most red zone attempts in the NFL (4.3). They are ranked seventh with 2.3 red zone attempts per game and ranked 19th in scoring (53.85%). The Cardinals are ranked last (32) in allowing opponents in the red zone with five attempts per game. They're ranked 22nd with 2.3 of their red zone scores per game, resulting in touchdowns. The 49ers will get into the red zone, but the team must score touchdowns to put the Cardinals away. Avoid the kicking duel between the rookie Jake Moody and the veteran Matt Prater and score touchdowns, especially in the red zone.

Be More Physical

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said at a presser that the Cardinals could easily be 3-0. The Cardinals like to play physical on defense, led by edge rusher Zaven Collins and linebacker Kyzir White, who recorded 14 tackles in their win against the Cowboys and the game-sealing interception. Expect the 49ers' linebackers, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, to set the tone on defense. Expect George Kittle, Deebo Samuel (if he plays), Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, and Trent Williams to set the tone on offense. Don't be surprised if Shanahan is aggressive with the play calling to send a clear and concise message to the NFC West. The 49ers' physicality will resonate throughout Levi's Stadium.

In Conclusion

This is a divisional game, and expect the unexpected. The 49ers seemed locked in and ready to roll against any team in the NFL. If the team sticks to these keys to victory, they will be off to a 4-0 start, and the resemblance of the 2019 season can start warming up.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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1 Comment

  • Peachy Brown
    Great article and I’m with you on all 5! We got this though definitely ????????
    Sep 30, 2023 at 4:05 PM


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