The 2023 NFL campaign was supposed to be an awful one for the Arizona Cardinals. Several so-called "experts" thought it was possible that head coach Jonathan Gannon's squad wouldn't win a single game this season. There's was even talk that the Redbirds could tank, an accusation that now seems utterly preposterous after three weeks.
Last Sunday, the Cards shocked the world by earning a 28-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. A large number of observers were stunned that a heavily-favored "America's Team" could fall to such a disregarded squad. Can Arizona have the same kind of luck against yet another NFC powerhouse in Week 4?
This Sunday's opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, will act as quite an obstacle for Gannon's crew. There are just three undefeated clubs remaining in the National Football League, and the Niners are one of them. A road game against yet another formidable opponent could serve as a litmus test of sorts for the up and coming Cardinals.
Arizona Cardinals may have to turn in a flawless performance to emerge victorious in Week 4
Arizona will have to play mistake-free football if they hope to upset the 49ers. The Cards offense has played at a elite level the past two weeks, totaling 56 points with journeyman backup Josh Dobbs under center. On the opposite side of the ball, coordinator Nick Rallis' unheralded unit held a high-flying Dallas scoring attack to just one touchdown in Week 3.
San Francisco will pose a whole new type of challenge for the Cardinals defense. Running back Christian McCaffrey is one of the league's most-explosive offensive weapons. Quarterback Brock Purdy leads the 49ers passing attack, throwing to top-flight targets like Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
Dobbs and the rest of the Arizona offense will also have their hands full this Sunday at Levi's Stadium. Sack-specialist Nick Bosa was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. Additional 49ers defenders such as Fred Warren, Javon Hargrave, Dre Greenlaw, and Deommodore Lenoir can also make scoring points difficult for the Cards.
A triumph over San Francisco, as unlikely as it may be, could propel the Cardinals to unexpected heights this fall. Consecutive wins over the Cowboys and 49ers could give the club the confidence they need to get to the playoffs. Not many will be picking Arizona to triumph this weekend, but just imagine the excitement that will be brewing in the desert if they can register a second-consecutive upset.