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Any Given Sunday: 49ers over Cardinals

San Francisco's four-man rush and Nate Clements' D locked up a Week 1 win

Originally Published: September 15, 2009
By Vince Verhei | Football Outsiders

Any Given Sunday is a Football Outsiders story that will recur throughout the 2009 NFL season, focusing on the most surprising result of each NFL weekend. For Week 1, they focus on the San Francisco 49ers' defeating the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals.

Just 5.6 wins.

After 10,000 simulations of Football Outsiders' preseason projection system, that was the average win total for the 2009 Arizona Cardinals. It caused great controversy among our readers, and even among our staff, when two of us picked Arizona as the team "most likely to beat its projection" in our annual subjective predictions. After Arizona's 20-16 loss to San Francisco, though, it looks like the projection system was on to something.

For deep analysis of the 49ers' Week 1 victory, including a look at two uncommon mental mistakes by veteran QB Kurt Warner, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider

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