SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS
I just wrote a big preview of this game and somehow, managed to lose all my notes, so will have to type this from memory, as time is running out, so, please bear with me. Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, is the new 49ers interim coach, but has obviously been given more than a caretaker role, as, in only a couple of weeks in charge, he has already benched the starting quarterback, thrown a player out of the game with ten minutes remaining, calling him "uncoachable" and dropped his pants in the changing room at half time to illustrate a point ! Singletary is a motivational speaker and regularly addresses groups of businessmen, but I always assumed he did this fully clothed ! However, with seven children, maybe he does not spend too long with his trousers on ! He is not a man I would care to cross, so hopefully he is not reading this (unlikely) and he is probably exactly what the 49ers need to put them back on track, but it will not be easy and will take time. They are 2-6 this year, with the two wins coming against the hapless and 0-9 Lions and in a narrow defeat of the injury hit 2-7 Seahawks, the losses, came by an average of 15 points, all by at least 9, including a 23-13 loss in the reverse meeting.
Things are a little calmer at the Cardinals, where coach Ken Wisenhunt has got them firmly heading in the right direction, taking them to 8-8 last year and looking to improve upon that this term. A win tonight would open up a four game lead, in their very weak division and put them on course for a first title in 33 years. They are currently 5-3, losing close games to Washington, Jets and Carolina and winning their games by an average of over 16 points. Under Wisenhunt, they are 9-2 at home and looking for a sixth straight win, averaging 34 points per game. They have the third ranked offense in the NFL , with a game firmly based around the pass and led by qb Kurt Warner, who is having his best start in years.
Even at this stage of the season, Wisenhunt is still looking to improve in all areas and took the brave step of benching running back Edgerrin James last week, replacing him with rookie Tim Hightower, a decision which paid immediate dividends with 109 yards on the ground and allowing Warner to mix things up a little more.
I cannot see the 49ers keeping the Cardinals to within two touchdowns, in a match up which always provides entertainment, with the last ten meeting all going "over".
6.5 points Arizona -9.5 points 1.91 + ...... Hills offer 1.95 as I type.