The top two rookie draft picks clash in the NFL as Nick Bosa's unbeaten San Francisco 49ers visit Kyler Murray's Arizona Cardinals.
The San Francisco 49ers are proving to be the surprise package of the NFL this season, with rookie Nick Bosa headlining a dominant defence that has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season to already have one foot in the play-offs.
Bosa and the 49ers put that 7-0 start on the line on Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals – although stats suggest that they already have a 97 percent chance of making the play-offs after their eye-catching start.
It’s an interesting clash for the Niners and Bosa especially – as the Cardinals are the team who could have drafted him with the top pick of the draft in April but instead opted to take quarterback Kyler Murray.
The two will now go head-to-head with Bosa hunting down Murray at every opportunity, looking to add to his impressive tally of seven sacks, a forced fumble and 13 quarterback hits in a superb start to his NFL career.
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals (Sky Sports Action 12.20am)
- Spread: San Francisco -10 | Arizona +10 at 10/11
- Best bet: San Francisco 49ers -8.5 and Under 45.5 Total Match Points at 2/1
- Touchdown tip: Matt Breida anytime at 100/30
- Price Boost: Tevin Coleman to score 2+ rushing touchdowns 7/1
"I try to keep my eyes on my work, which is the offensive lineman, which helps me beat offensive linemen," said Bosa, who is looking forward to going up against Murray. "But with a quarterback like this, you have to have eyes on the backfield and you have to know what his tendencies are when it comes to escaping so you can counter it."
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury admits that Arizona love the prospect of drafting Bosa, but when Murray gave up the chance to play baseball to try his hand in the NFL, they dare not turn down the chance to sign a player who fitted their offensive plans perfectly.
“I loved him as a player,” Kingsbury said of Bosa. “I’d love to go the club with him. You know he’s one of those guys. He’s going to have fun wherever he’s at. And he’s an absolute beast on the field. He was one of our favourites in the draft, on and off the field.”
The 49ers have been transformed this season after just four wins last year, and although the schedule had looked friendly, demolishing the Carolina Panthers 51-13 on Sunday was an impressive way to silence any remaining critics.
Arizona had won three straight games before last week’s loss against New Orleans, although the victories came against the Giants, Bengals and Falcons who have mustered three wins between them.
The Cardinals are at home, but will need to find something extra on offence to break down the visiting defence, which has strangled almost every opposition they’ve faced – and it may well by on Murray’s shoulders with Arizona’s top two running backs David Johnson and Chase Edmonds struggling with injury.
Mustering any kind of attack is tough going against this San Francisco side – who’ve only allowed 224 yards per game on average which is the lowest mark at this stage of a season in 28 years.
Points aren’t any easier to come by either – as they’ve yielded just 23 in the last four games combined and haven’t allowed more than 20 in a game all season. They’re the toughest of tough nuts to crack and may just be the team to beat in the NFC.
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