Big Red Blog: Changes coming in Arizona?

Sunday's season finale against the 49ers could spell the end for more than just the Cardinals' 2012 campaign as several players, coaches and front office jobs are in jeopardy.

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Changes coming in Arizona?

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, December 27 - 9:45 AM

The Arizona Cardinals will wrap up a dismal 2012 campaign this week, traveling to the Bay Area to take on the San Francisco 49ers. The two teams couldn't be on more different ends of the spectrum as the 49ers are currently battling for the No. 2 seed in the NFC while the Cardinals are playing for contract incentives and draft position.

Arizona has struggled against San Francisco in recent years and that trend should continue as the disparity in talent could be at an all-time high. Even though San Francisco is coming off a blowout loss at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, this weekend's matchup is expected to be a one-sided affair, in favor of the 49ers.

There are plenty of rumors swirling in the desert and another lop-sided loss could be the nail in the coffin for several parties involved with the Cardinals. GM Rod Graves has come under fire as has coach Ken Whisenhunt. The names in jeopardy don't stop there as many expect Sunday's game to be the last for QB John Skelton, RB Beanie Wells and a handful of others in an Arizona uniform.

The Cardinals continue to be respectable on the defensive side of the ball, but nothing more than anemic on offense. With rookie QB Ryan Lindley under center last week against the Chicago Bears, Arizona mustered only 248 yards of total offense while committing three turnovers. Two of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns in incredibly easy fashion.

As for this weekend's matchup, the 49ers should turn to the ground early and often as they boast the NFL's fourth-best rushing attack averaging over 157 yards per game. The Cardinals have been an opportunistic defense all year long and have been excellent defending the pass, but they've been inauspicious against the run ranking 28th in rushing yards, allowing more than 137 yards per contest.

Arizona's win against the Detroit Lions two weeks ago was an aberration as this is still a team on a steep decline. Poor quarterback play and a severely underwhelming offensive group as a whole has plagued the Cardinals all season. Arizona has now lost 10 of its last 11 outings and will be hard pressed to keep from dropping the season finale in San Francisco.

Coming off a disappointing performance in Seattle, look for coach Jim Harbaugh to get QB Colin Kaepernick back on track and lift his confidence heading into the postseason. The 49ers have several capable running backs that should have no problem finding holes as San Francisco will run to an easy victory.

Prediction: San Francisco 34 Arizona 17

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