Week 5 Thursday Night Football Predictions - Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers

Arizona Cardinals players gathered around

Doug Upstone

Monday, October 3, 2016 4:58 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 3, 2016 4:58 PM UTC

This NFC West matchup was supposed to be about one team that was Super Bowl contender possibly struggling in divisional battle. Instead, it is a contest with two 1-3 clubs with many questions. Football handicappers analyses TNF game to serve you some winning NFL picks.


Arizona was one win away from Super Bowl last January, now here they are at 1-3, same as San Francisco for this Thursday night football matchup. The 49ers were expected to be here, but not the Cardinals. After last Sunday's loss, Cards coach Bruce Arians said, "We are not panicking."

Here is the game breakdown, from handicapper who is 18-7 this season, making NFL week 5 predictions.


Arizona Covers If........

Make a great commitment to the run. We will not know the exact status of Carson Palmer from concussion protocol until later in the week, but with him or Drew Stanton not exactly shifty in the pocket, this would be great opportunity to think run first with David Johnson to set up play-action passing, which in turn helps curtail potential for even more turnovers.

The Cardinals run defense was much improved against Los Angeles, but poor tackling and bad angles in pass coverage allowed the Rams to make big plays. San Francisco does not have as many playmakers on the perimeter as L.A., thus, winning early downs to make Blaine Gabbert beat them as a passer is the best the defense can do to help their team to win the contest.


San Francisco Covers If.........

The 49ers had three excellent drives against Dallas, which is how they scored all 17 points. While Gabbert throws some good balls, he's mostly only fair and is far better when he plants foot and can throw out-routs. Gabbert is at his best when working on third down and three or less, as coach Chip Kelly can use his quarterback in read option plays also.

The Cardinals offensive line is not nearly as good as the Cowboys, thus, they should be able to do the better job against the rush. If the defense can force Arizona quarterbacks into third and longs, neither QB has a quick release and is prone to putting on the ground or tossing balls that could be picked up. If the Niners can get off to fast start, they could really place the Cards on their heels, being already stunned to be 1-3.


Your Thursday Night Football Winner is?

The NFL betting odds from Just Bet (up to $2,500 bonus on first deposit) will be up once we learn Palmer's status and my guess because it is short week is he will be out, making Stanton the starter. This likely means Arizona will be a -2.5 to -4 point favorite. Look for more from the running game and shorter passes and the Cards win 20-14.


Free NFL Football Picks: Arizona -2.5
Best Line Offered: at JustBet

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