Dec 242014

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-8)

This line has shifted from 4 to 6 over the past week. Normally, I love fading significant line movements because they tend to be overreactions. Rate of moving the chains also says this line is too high, as the Cardinals rank 16th, moving the chains at a 69.52% rate, as opposed to 69.49% for their opponents, a differential of 0.03%, while the 49ers rank 20th, moving the chains at a 70.81% rate, as opposed to 72.15% for their opponents, a differential of -1.33% Their defense is also really hurting, losing Chris Borland, Eric Reid, and Ray McDonald for a variety of reasons in the last couple of weeks. However, this line might be warranted. The Cardinals were embarrassed at home by the Seahawks last week in a 35-6 loss that could have been worse if the Seahawks had made two makeable field goals. The Cardinals moved the chains at a mere 58.62% rate, as opposed to 80.00% for the Seahawks.

The 49ers aren’t as good as the Seahawks obviously and the Cardinals will be switching from Ryan Lindley to Logan Thomas at quarterback and I don’t think he could possibly be worse than Lindley, who, somehow in the modern age of football, has completed just 49.3% of his passes for an average of 4.44 YPA, 0 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions and has shown a stunning lack of accuracy and poor ball placement dating back to his San Diego State days. However, Thomas is a 4th round rookie and is just 1 of 8 in his career and, while that 1 completion went for 81 yards, it was on a dumpoff to a running back. The Cardinals only moved the chains at a 67.18% rate with Drew Stanton under center and figure to once again be even worse than that this week with Thomas under center. It’s hard to be confident in him, though I ultimately am going with the Cardinals.

San Francisco 49ers 13 Arizona Cardinals 9

Pick against the spread: Arizona +6

Confidence: None

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