Early Week 10 Preview: 49ers at Cardinals

View images of the key players on San Francisco's ninth regular season opponent, the Arizona Cardinals.

The San Francisco 49ers will begin the second half of the 2016 season with a Week 10 road game against the Arizona Cardinals. The NFC matchup will be the final meeting between the two teams this year.

Arizona topped San Francisco on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 5, 33-21. The 49ers held Drew Stanton to 124 passing yards, but were gashed in the ground game by David Johnson, who tallied 157 yards and two touchdowns.

It will be Carson Palmer under center this time around for the Cardinals after a concussion kept the veteran signal-caller out of the Week 5 contest. Here's an early preview as the 49ers continue the pursuit to put an end to their seven-game losing streak.

All-time Record: 29-21

San Francisco has lost four of the last five meetings. The 49ers last victory in Arizona came in 2013 when Phil Dawson drilled a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Previous Matchup: Cardinals 33 - 21 49ers (Oct. 6, 2016 in San Francisco)

As mentioned above, Johnson stole the show in primetime and showed why he's already one of the NFL's premier running backs. The second-year pro out of Northern Iowa currently ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards (705) and third in rushing touchdowns (eight).

The Cardinals Best Player: Larry Fitzgerald

This could have been Johnson, Palmer, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones or a number of other talented playmakers on Arizona's roster. But the pick here is Fitzgerald because of his longevity and consistent production against the 49ers.

The future Hall of Famer caught six passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5. In Week 3 of the 2015 season, Fitzgerald posted nine receptions for 134 yards and a pair of scores. For his career, the 13th-year pro has 142 catches for 1,935 yards and 16 touchdowns against San Francisco.

It's hard to believe Fitzgerald is 33-years old.

Who You Should Get to Know: Markus Golden

There aren't many unknowns versus a division rival, but Golden is quickly becoming one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL. The second-year linebacker out of Missouri has six sacks in eight games this season, including two in the Week 5 win over the 49ers. Golden and Jones are a dynamic pass-rushing tandem that will need to be accounted for on every play.

Where They Excel: Scoring Defense

Arizona's offense gets plenty of recognition, and for good reason. But the Cardinals defense has been equally, if not even more impressive. The group ranks fourth in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game. Much of the success has to do with Arizona's ability to force turnovers. The Cardinals are fifth in the league with 15 takeaways this season. They also own the third-ranked pass defense.

Where They Struggle: Turnovers

Arizona sports a plus-three turnover differential, but that speaks more to the ability for the Cardinals defense to get takeaways. Carson Palmer & Co. haven't been shy about turning the ball over and have 12 this year. Palmer and Stanton have combined for eight interceptions and the offense has four total lost fumbles. For a team that likes to air it out as much as Arizona, there should be opportunities for San Francisco's defense to force a turnover or two on Sunday.

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