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NFL Thursday night pick: Take the 49ers over Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) and

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (17) celebrate after connecting on a touchdown pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. Credit: AP / Ben Margot

CARDINALS (1-3) AT 49ERS (1-3), 8:25 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Cardinals by 3; O/U: 42

It’s no surprise that the 49ers are tied for last place in the NFC West. The same can’t be said for the team that’s tied with them. Adding injury to insult for the Cardinals, they now have to play on short rest and without Carson Palmer, who suffered a concussion on Sunday.

The 49ers, who have lost three in a row, are dealing with their own injury woes. They lost linebacker NaVorro Bowman for the season.

This is a difficult game to handicap because of Palmer’s absence. It’s not easy to trust backup Drew Stanton. The safe play is to bank on the better coach in Bruce Arians and the Cardinals’ defense, but don’t count out Chip Kelly and the 49ers just because “Oh, come on, they’re the 49ers.” They’re home and getting points, an even bigger bonus in a quick-turnaround game. San Francisco led Dallas, 14-0, last week and looked as if it would start 2-0 at home before faltering late. Blaine Gabbert isn’t exciting, but his ability to run and pick up first downs can keep this close.

This figures to be a low-scoring game, one that you’ll probably wish wasn’t on national TV. The Cardinals appear to have been overrated. There’s no reason the 49ers can’t keep this a field-goal game, and even pull out the mini upset at home.

The pick: 49ers


TOM ROCK 49ers


New York Sports