The 49ers smashed the Cards; Are they the rival to beat in the NFC playoffs? • First and Ten

The San Francisco 49ers are the second seed in the national conference right now, after beating the Arizona Cardinals by a final score of 38-13. And given the shapes, it’s inevitable to consider that they may be more than just a 2023 NFL playoff invitee; With that power, are they the best Super Bowl candidate in this conference?

Next, let’s see what it tells us his last triumph in the 2022 regular season.

The 49ers have no mercy on the Cardinals

No one was definitely expecting a surprise from this ill-fated version of the Cardinals; however, it was a good opportunity to see if what happened last week against the Raiders would be repeated this time, giving something much more competitive than expected.

Although it seemed that way at first, with a good offensive series from Arizona under the command of QB David Blough (14/18, 190 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT), they soon ran into the defensive wall that was seen throughout the season. from San Francisco. In this way, the latter scored 38 points, almost without response; largely because the defensive line held the Cardinals to just 61 yards on 20 carries. From here, they forced whoever won with the backup quarterback, which rarely happens.

With HC Kliff Kingsbury’s offense neutralized, it was time to see if QB Brock Purdy could put a questionable performance behind him against Las Vegas the week before; Fortunately, he did, and the rookie was 15 of 20 passing for 178 yards and three touchdowns, posting a near-perfect 141.3 passer rating in the game.

However, San Francisco continues to rely more on RB Christian McCaffrey, who generated 79 total yards on 13 touches and a touchdown through the air; Coupled with the talents of WR Deebo Samuel, who can be used in a variety of ways, defenses have a hard time figuring out how to stay on the field before getting pummeled by one of the two. Facing the playoffs, it is the key aspect for future meetings:

Bitter farewell to JJ Watt

This game also served as the farewell to a great man, as was DE JJ Watt, who will leave without a single Super Bowl ring, and to top it off, a disastrous season for his last team at a professional level; However, his professional attitude will always be valued, and it is that he played a good game individually:

With three takedowns behind the line of scrimmage, two sacks, two QB hits and even a pass deflection, the future Hall of Famer managed to make the game a bit difficult for the 49ers offense. And for a long time, he reminded Purdy that he was a rookie, with flaws to exploit for his rivals. In a certain way, the video of him should be used by the next rival of the Niners, because it can be very useful.

Beyond that, Watt couldn’t do much for a team in constant decline; the Kingsbury project fell apart since before the removal; and having to find solutions with several substitute QBs, it was simply difficult to take flight once more. And it’s still unfair to guys like Watt, who really thought it would be a winning project in the last two years:

The Niners are on the prowl for the sixth Vince Lombardi

Even in that foray into Super Bowl LIV, these 49ers hadn’t had a defense as determined or aggressive as this one; The level with which his front seven plays this year is truly remarkable. What’s more, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when DE Nick Bosa wins Defensive Defender of the Year in a few weeks.

However, this team continues to suffer from the QB, who is still a rookie forced to play by circumstances; And let’s not forget that they still have QB Jimmy Garoppolo for later, so let’s not jump on the Purdy bandwagon entirely. Instead, it appears the offense is much more reliant on running back Christian McCaffrey, giving it a variety of play that it didn’t have before his trade.

The adaptability of the offense is a reflection of having players of this type, who can line up in every position imaginable. So, even with the weaknesses exposed, let’s not count on him being an easy opponent to beat. On the contrary, looking at the Eagles or Vikings closing out the season, the best contender seems to be San Francisco by a wide margin.

Will the 49ers be able to maintain this level of play in the playoffs or even raise it? Are they the best team in the NFC heading to the playoffs? You can leave us your opinions below this article or through our social media posts.

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