The San Francisco 49ers have plenty on the line as they prepare to make a trip to Glendale, Arizona for a Week 15 matchup versus the Arizona Cardinals. The red and gold officially clinched a playoff berth on Monday night with the Green Bay Packers loss to the New York Giants in primetime, and the next order of business on their playoff push is locking up the division.
A win over the Cardinals would shore up the NFC West crown as well as keep them on top of the conference standings. San Francisco is currently the No. 1 seed, a byproduct of the Dallas Cowboys 33-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on "Sunday Night Football."
There is also a personal aspect to the 49ers second meeting with the Cardinals for quarterback Brock Purdy, who is set to make his first-career start in his home state. The 49ers QB1 is an Arizona native and played prep football at Perry High School in Gilbert, so it should come as no surprise that he's expecting a large group of friends and family at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.
He even got a fresh haircut in anticipation of his homecoming.
"I've got some family and friends (coming to the game), so I have to look clean," Purdy said. "I'm excited to have my family, my friends, people in my life just growing up, to be there. It should be fun."
The last time Purdy played at State Farm Stadium was in 2021 with Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl. He helped lead the Cyclones to a 34-17 victory over the Oregon Ducks, connecting on 20-of-29 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
With the 49ers, he's yet to pay a trip to Glendale as a starting quarterback for couple reasons. For starters, the 49ers haven't made the trip to Arizona since 2021 because of last season's 49ers-Cardinals "away" game taking place in Mexico City, and if that game would have taken place stateside, Purdy was still serving as the backup to Jimmy Garoppolo at the time.
Now in his second year in the league and with 19 regular season starts under his belt, Purdy will make his Arizona debut as the league leader in passer rating (116.9), yards per attempt (9.9) and completion percentage (70.2). He's also feeling as confident as ever about his deep ball abilities.
"I feel like I've always been efficient with the quick game, the intermediate game, all that kind of stuff," Purdy said. "But, when it comes to pushing the ball downfield, it's just about understanding what we're trying to do as an offense. Once we get those kinds of opportunities, being aggressive and letting it rip.
"I feel like right now, probably about all the years I've been playing football, this is probably the best in terms of pushing the ball downfield and being efficient in that area."