3 matchups vs. San Francisco the Arizona Cardinals must capitalize on in Week 15

The Arizona Cardinals have very few advantages in Week 15 vs. the San Francisco 49ers, but there are some they can take advantage of.
Arizona Cardinals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Arizona Cardinals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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In Week 15, the Arizona Cardinals are facing a team that has been playing as though they are a league above everyone else. Over the past few weeks, the San Francisco 49ers have beaten contenders like the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-3 and the Philadelphia Eagles 42-19, not to mention they also blew out the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the season.

San Francisco has also played and swept a would-be contender in the Seattle Seahawks by a combined score of 67-29, so on paper, a 3-10 team like the Cardinals have no chance to win. And when you look at each matchup, the Niners hold an advantage almost everywhere, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few areas where the Redbirds can’t capitalize. 

This doesn’t mean the Cards hold an advantage, but they are talented enough in the following matchups that if they play to the following respective strengths, “Big Red” will at least make this a game. 

Arizona Cardinals
Oct 29, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) and Baltimore / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Matchups the Arizona Cardinals can capitalize on in Week 15

1 - Cardinals pass rush vs. San Francisco’s offensive line

There are very few matchups working in the Arizona Cardinals favor this weekend, but they do have a solid pass rush that can stifle quarterback Brock Purdy. So far in 2023, opponents have sacked Purdy on 6.8 percent of his dropbacks, the ninth-highest in the league for quarterbacks making at least 10 starts. 

While the Cardinals overall pass rush numbers don’t look great compared to the rest of the NFL, it’s also important to note that they have only blitzed on 21.4 percent of all dropbacks, which is tied for the sixth-lowest in the league. This has equated to just 98 blitzes overall, or the third-lowest, but despite the low numbers, they still have 32 total sacks, which ranks 21st. 

This implies the Cards are good at maximizing their chances when they’re blitzing opposing quarterbacks. And given the number of times opponents have sacked Purdy from a percentage standpoint, they could rattle the second-year passer and prevent him from building rapport with his favorite targets.