Two of the best defenses in the NFL clash today as the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals meet in a must-win game. Arizona has to win to make the playoffs, while the 49ers must win if they want to claim the division (though they’re guaranteed at least a wild-card spot). Ranked second and third in the NFC West, the 49ers and Cardinals are playing one of the most evenly matched games on the Week 17 docket. It’s so close, in fact, that the point spread for today’s 49ers Cardinals game is only one point. You’ll want to see this broadcast live on FOX if you can, or if not you can watch 49ers vs Cardinals game free online live using one of several different tools.
San Francisco pulled off a Monday Night miracle last week against the Falcons. Niners inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman made a last-minute pick-six that derailed Atlanta’s momentum and their push to turn off the lights forever at Candlestick Park with a San Francisco loss. But as the Falcons seemed on their way to an improbable comeback victory, Bowman’s 89-yard interception return with 1:10 remaining sealed the 49ers date with the playoffs.
Those types of defensive heroics are likely to be the norm rather than the exception today as the 49ers face the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the NFC, and at 10-5 they largely have their defense to thank for it. Ranked sixth in the league, the Cardinals defense has overshadowed the play of quarterback Carson Palmer and perhaps even enabled the QB to have the season he’s had.
The 49ers also have a strong defense, with a linebacker corps and defensive line that push opposing quarterbacks to the brink. Last week against the Seahawks, the 49ers sacked Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson four times and held him to a career-low 108 passing yards while limiting running back Marshawn Lynch to 71 yards.
That defense has been vital to the success of quarterback Carson Palmer. Through 16 weeks, the Arizona quarterback has hoisted 523 passes, connecting on 334 of them, and thrown for 3,867 yards. Watch 49ers vs Cardinals game free online live and you’ll see him fling them far and wide against a 49ers defense giving up 209 passing yards per game and that allowed 402 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Atlanta.
The San Francisco 49ers have made up for their defensive slip-ups by gelling on offense. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been at the heart of the revival by rediscovering his passing game just in time for the return of Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick’s rushing game has also returned, though his 500 rushing yards pale in comparison to the 1,114 yards running back Frank Gore has piled up. Still, the 11-4 49ers aren’t a unanimous favorite, as ESPN analysts largely pick the 49ers to win while NFL pundits largely put their odds on Arizona at home.
Today’s 49ers Cardinals game is huge for both teams and has NFC playoff implications across the board. You can watch 49ers vs Cardinals game free online live on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket with MAX Package. The package requires a subscription, but anyone who has one can watch the live streaming version free of any game, including today’s 4:25 EST / 1:25 PST NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.