Cardinals (1-3) vs 49ers (1-3)
The Arizona Cardinals are plagued by turnovers of late. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton will start Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers (Enter contests). With veteran Carson Palmer ruled out due to concussion, Stanton will be left looking to conjure the magic that saw him pull a 5-3 mark out of his hat during a stint in 2014.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
Stanton struggled mightily in taking over for the concussed Palmer on Sunday, completing just 4-of-11 passes in a 17-13 setback to Los Angeles and his two interceptions upped Arizona’s turnover total to nine during its two-game skid. Arizona has not scored in the first quarter this season and was blanked over the first 15 minutes of a contest in six straight dating to 2015.
David Johnson (64 carries, 300 yards, three TDs) leads the NFL with 510 yards from scrimmage and has recorded 100 or more total yards in all four contests this season and eight of his last nine games. Johnson amassed 124 from scrimmage (83 rushing, 41 receiving) versus the Rams, but the workload was decidedly different in last year’s season series with San Francisco (15 carries, 46 yards). The 24-year-old is spelled by Andre Ellington, as veteran Chris Johnson (groin) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Tyvon Branch is also placed on injured reserves. Fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu will temporarily move to the slot while D.J. Swearinger plays in nickel packages. Cardinals LBs Chandler Jones and Markus Golden each have recorded a sack in all four contests this season.
ABOUT THE 49ERS
The 49ers had no such issue against the Rams with a 28-0 season-opening shellacking, but the defense of Chip Kelly’s club summarily has been shredded to the tune of 458.3 yards and 35.7 points per contest during its three-game losing streak. To add injury to insult, four-time NFL All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman sustained a torn left Achilles in Sunday’s 24-17 setback to Dallas and will miss the rest of the season.
San Francisco collected eight takeaways in its first three games to provide a helping hand for the NFL’s 28th-ranked offense, which scored a league-best 45 points off the turnovers after mustering an NFL-worst 25 for the entire 2015 season. The 49ers failed to force a turnover versus the Cowboys on Sunday and Blaine Gabbert’s fourth interception of the season ended his team’s bid for an upset. Carlos Hyde (73 carries, 299 yards, NFC-best five TDs) is averaging 4.9 yards per rush over his last two games, but got limited to just 51 yards in a 47-7 loss at Arizona on Sept. 27. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who had six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown last week, leads the team in catches (18) and receiving yards (202).