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Four Downs

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Four Downs: Keys to a 49ers Win against the Cardinals

Our 49ers.com writers are back to break down four pressing topics in the San Francisco 49ers Week 5 home game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Here's an outlook on the 49ers first divisional matchup of 2018 in our weekly "Four Downs" series.

First Down: Who will score the 49ers first touchdown?

Joe Fann: George Kittle

Kittle and Matt Breida have been the 49ers best skill players through the first quarter of the season. Last week we saw Kittle explode for 125 yards and one touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers. He's officially entered the conversation among the top tight ends in the NFL. I expect Kittle to continue to be C.J. Beathard's go-to guy. He's the odds on favorite to score in Week 5, and I'll happily take the chalk.

Keiana Martin: Kendrick Bourne

With Dante Pettis out and Marquise Goodwin questionable heading into Sunday, that means Bourne could see increased targets against the Cardinals. He’s already built a good rapport with C.J. Beathard and leads the 49ers with two touchdowns on the year. He’s established himself as a red zone threat, and I foresee Beathard looking to the second-year receiver early.

Second Down: Which position group needs to step up?

Joe Fann: Defensive Line

Sunday will be Josh Rosen's first road start in the NFL. It's on San Francisco's defensive front to make the rookie uncomfortable throughout the game. Rosen has unquestionable arm talent, but he's still a first-year signal caller capable of rookie mistakes. A consistent pass rush will get Rosen off of his spot and potentially force him into a few regrettable decisions. Look for DeForest Buckner and Cassius Marsh to play a big role in this one.

Keiana Martin: Wide Receivers

San Francisco is still looking for its wide receivers to step up in 2018. No 49ers wideout has topped 61 yards in a single game so far this year. Injuries have been problematic at this position, but the 49ers will still need a boost from the guys on the outside to help out C.J. Beathard in Week 5.

Third Down: What matchup are you looking forward to most?

Joe Fann: Chandler Jones vs. 49ers offensive line

It looks like the 49ers o-line will be at full strength on Sunday. Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey and Weston Richburg are all questionable to play with knee injuries. However, all signs point to them being good to go. They aren't likely to be 100 percent, though, and they'll have their hands full with Arizona's top pass rusher. Jones posted 17 sacks in 2017 and already has three in 2018. He's a force off the edge and has the potential to make game-changing plays. The 49ers will need to limit his impact in an effort to keep C.J. Beathard upright.

Keiana Martin: Larry Fitzgerald vs. 49ers young cornerbacks

The one-time All-Pro, 11-time Pro Bowl receiver is averaging just more than 35 yards a game so far in 2018. Now, by no means does that mean he’s regressed. He has long been a strong performer against the 49ers, including that painful game-winning touchdown in overtime last season. With Sherman’s status still up in the air, the 49ers young secondary will need to contain the Cardinals future Hall of Famer.

Fourth Down: What is your bold prediction?

Joe Fann: 49ers win by double digits

Much like the team's home opener against the Detroit Lions, this one feels like a must-win game for the 1-3 49ers. Nobody is taking the Cardinals lightly within the building, but I still think the 49ers get the job done on Sunday and in comfortable fashion. San Francisco learned quite a bit against the Lions in terms of not taking its foot off the gas. That should serve them well if the 49ers establish an early lead in Week 5.

Keiana Martin: George Kittle tops 100 yards for second straight week

Kittle has been the 49ers top pass catcher through the first quarter of the season. He’s amassed 316 yards on 18 receptions, including his 125-yard outburst last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. He is currently on pace for 1,264 yards this season. I believe Kittle keeps the momentum going against the Cardinals defense that has given up 94 points over the first four weeks of the season. Beathard and Kittle will get another opportunity to show off their chemistry on Sunday.

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