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Three Big Things: 49ers Week

A look at the top storylines for Sunday's game


The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California:

How Now, Blough?

David Blough will get his second start after playing pretty well in the first, but the Falcons defense was the Falcons defense and the 49ers defense is definitely not the Falcons defense. This is a much more difficult test; Colt McCoy didn't do too much against this unit in Mexico City and that was with DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner. Blough won't have Hop and might not have Conner, and in the end, it doesn't matter to him. He wants a chance to play, and this is that chance. He has a solid game in San Francisco, and the Cardinals have to think about keeping him around.

Watt A Final Game

J.J. Watt did get a sack in Atlanta, but after the game – a second straight loss on a field goal on the game's final play – he sat looking into his locker, not moving much. We saw later on "Hard Knocks" he was blaming himself for the defensive breakdowns on the final drive that allowed the Falcons to get into field-goal position. Watt, who did appear on the injury report with a groin issue, was going to want to play well in his final game but now he has just a bit more motivation. My guess is you indeed see Watt play well one more time. This is it for him, and it feels like he'll find a way for at least one more memorable moment.

The Cliché Of Finishing Strong

The Cardinals have had a rough year. That is indisputable. Playing a team that could potentially be the best in the NFC doesn't make the last game simple. But the franchise has been one to come through during bad seasons. There was the upset of the Vikings in 2003, beating the Seahawks in Bruce Arians' final game or nearly beating the Seahawks in Steve Wilks' final game. I understand the overall end game makes more sense with a loss, because of draft position. But there are plenty of guys – starting with David Blough – trying to carve out something in this league. That'll translate at least some on the field.