The San Francisco 49ers are just 1-7 halfway through the season, but there is reason to believe they have a chance to turn their season around this weekend. They made positive strides last week, staying with the high-powered Saints for three quarters, and now look to put it all together against a vulnerable Cardinals team. Here are three reasons why the 49ers will get their second win of the season:
3) The return of Carlos Hyde
Hyde is expected to be back this weekend, and it can not be understated how big that is for San Francisco's offense. We all know how much Chip Kelly's offense is built around running the ball, and they haven't been able to exploit that over the last few weeks as Hyde has dealt with a shoulder injury. Now that they have their leading rusher back, this offense will be operating at their full potential.
2) The Cardinals usually beat themselves
Arizona isn't 3-4-1 for a lack of talent - they just can't get out of their own way. In their loss to the Panthers last week, Arizona committed 10 penalties and turned it over twice. In their tie against the Seahawks two weeks ago, the Cardinals committed six penalties, went 0-2 in the red zone and missed two field goals. It's safe to assume that Arizona will shoot themselves in the foot a few times on Sunday - the challenge for San Francisco is to take advantage of those opportunities and to not commit similar mistakes themselves.
1) Improved quarterback play
Speaking of making mistakes, that's exactly what Blaine Gabbert did in the first matchup against the Cardinals. He threw two interceptions in that matchup, and that proved to be one of the biggest factors in Arizona's win. Kaepernick seems unlikely to repeat those mistakes, given that he has only thrown two interceptions in his three starts. If he can take care of the ball, the 49ers have a good chance to win.