This sounds like a familiar scenario, but the 49ers must continue to play strong defensively like they did last week in a 34-3 win over the Houston Texans. Last Sunday, the 49ers had three interceptions and one forced fumble which resulted in 24 points. One of the turnovers was an interception returned for touchdown by Tramaine Brock.
The Arizona Cardinals will bring enough opportunities on offense for that to happen. Matt Schaub is tied for second in the NFL with nine interceptions thrown. The Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer also has nine interceptions and is vulnerable to turnovers.
Bruce Arians said in a conference call that offensively they've had trouble this season. It was only in Week 1 against the Rams where there was success.
"We haven't played that well since [Week 1]," Arians said. "Turnovers have to be eliminated. The [49ers] live on disruptive plays and are good at taking the football away. It's a huge swing and a huge reference in the red zone. That's been our problem because we've turned it over in the end zone and lost points."
The best to way get turnovers is making the Cardinals one dimensional by forcing them to pass the ball majority of the time. In Week 4, the Rams were unable to run the ball and they were held to only 16 rushing yards. Sam Bradford was passing the ball for the rest of the game and incomplete passes kept coming in the second half.
The Texans were able to run the ball with Arian Foster, but with the team trailing, they needed Matt Schaub to make all the plays. He failed miserably for throwing a few unnecessary deep balls and was responsible for three interceptions, one of which was caught by Tony Jerod-Eddie in the red zone.
This could be a defensive battle early on, with the Cardinals defense being one of the best at defending the ground attack. Their pass defense is also improved with third year CB Patrick Peterson and rookie Tyrann Mathieu making plays. The first team to budge and make a mistake could be able to build off the momentum and take control of the game.
Arizona held the Buccaneers and Panthers to ten and six points respectively in back to back wins. They were able to force at least three turnovers in both games. However, the Cardinals turned over the ball three times in each game which the opposition failed to take advantage of.
In his last three games, Carson Palmer has thrown seven interceptions and there could be more if the 49ers continue to have great coverage in the secondary.
The 49ers need to repeat their defensive performance against the Texans from last week when facing the Cardinals. If the Cardinal sins happen, the 49ers can cruise to a victory.