When you are playing an elite football team like the San Francisco 49ers, it’s easy to overcomplicate things. For a 10-3 football team that looks as though they will blowout their next few opponents, the Arizona Cardinals included, it’s tough to even know where to begin a game plan.
But safety Budda Baker has some wise words for the Cardinals, and it’s really a straightforward approach heading into Sunday’s game that has worked for “Big Red” a few times this season. While there will be a game plan, no doubt, as there is for all 17 contests, Baker also realizes that to beat the 49ers, his team must roll with a specific mentality.
""I just want us to continue to get better in all facets, but of course you want to win those game and we take one week at a time and this week, we got a great challenge ahead of us. We're going to compete and play hard nosed football and grind it out and see what happens.""- Budda Baker
Source: Cardinals Know They Must Find Way To Slow 49ers Attack by Zach Gershman, AZCardinals.com
For Baker, the primary key to winning this game is straightforward, to the point, and wise. The last part of the above quote speaks volumes, and it’s what led the Cardinals to a pair of major upset wins this season against the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Arizona Cardinals must utilize a style of play that has worked this season
Luckily for the Cardinals, despite their 3-10 record, the “grind it out” mentality Baker mentioned above has been paramount to keeping them in games this season. Besides a few outliers, the Cardinals have utilized that “hard nosed” approach in many games that they have played, and it’s made the 2023 season far more interesting than it was supposed to be.
Weeks 1, 2, and 3 saw the Cardinals either narrowly lose or pull off an upset, while their Week 4 performance against the 49ers was closer than the 35-16 final. The Cards showed fight in their Week 5 matchup vs. the Cincinnati Bengals until they lost running back James Conner. They were never out of their Week 7 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks and the Redbirds even clawed their way back into the game in Week 8 vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Weeks 10 and 11 saw that same mentality Baker mentioned the Arizona Cardinals need to show tomorrow, and as mentioned, it led them to a win over Pittsburgh in Week 13. While things still look rather bleak vs. one of the NFL’s best, if the Cardinals play the same style that has kept them in a lot of games this season, then their Week 15 matchup may be closer than many will think.
(Information provided by Pro-Football-Reference)