The San Francisco 49ers are 1-3 on the season, which is about where most people expected they would be through four weeks. They picked up a quality win over the Los Angeles Rams and then fell to the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, and most recently the Dallas Cowboys. But few expected the rival Arizona Cardinals to also be 1-3 and fighting to stay out of the basement in the NFC West.
These two teams will clash with that in mind on Thursday Night Football in Week 5. The game is set to begin at 8:25 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on both the NFL Network and CBS. Unlike last week, there is a live stream online via Twitter this time around, available to anyone and everyone in the United States.
San Francisco looked great in a 28-0 shutout of the Rams, a team that has picked up some surprisingly quality wins. The 49ers also looked decent at times against the Panthers and against the Cowboys in their most recent game. But that level of play mainly occurred early on, and Chip Kelly's team eventually unraveled down the stretch in each of those matchups.
Blaine Gabbert is the starting quarterback for the 49ers, regardless of how ineffectively he plays. Gabbert has thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions this season. For every decent touchdown pass or run for a first down, Gabbert has several badly thrown passes. He consistently throws well short of the first down marker even on third down, and he misses wide-open guys.
But Kelly is adamant that Gabbert isn't losing the starting job any time soon. It sounds like if Colin Kaepernick is going to get a chance to play, it's not going to happen until closer to the end of the season. That would give Kelly an out and buy himself more time, though he's not on the hot seat by any stretch of the imagination in his first season in San Francisco.
The Cardinals have their own problem at quarterback. Carson Palmer has experienced a great career resurgence with the Cardinals, but he struggled down the stretch last season and for the first four weeks this season.
Palmer, 36, is looking a lot like he's hit the age wall. He's looked sluggish and unprepared, and has thrown five interceptions and six touchdowns this season. He threw four picks against Buffalo in Week 3, and though he looked better last week against the Rams he unfortunately exited after sustaining a concussion late in the game.
Now Palmer is in concussion protocol while the Cardinals, on a short week, will start backup Drew Stanton. Stanton has completed a career 252 of 467 passes (54 percent) for 3,021 yards with 12 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Below is all you need to watch Thursday's game between the NFC West rivals.
How to Watch Cardinals vs. 49ers on Thursday
Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
TV: NFL Network, CBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Online Streaming: Sunday Ticket, Twitter