Cardinals hope for better matchup with 49ers

The Cardinals consider the 49ers to be their chief rival, yet the rivalry has been one-sided for more than two years.

The Cardinals consider the 49ers to be their chief rival, yet the rivalry has been one-sided for more than two years.

The 49ers have won five consecutive games against Arizona, and the last four have been by an average of 21 points.

It's been a bad matchup for the Cardinals, who have been beaten up by the 49ers, even when the 49ers were bad and playing for coach Mike Singletary.

The Cardinals would like to make a statement Sunday that they aren't as far behind the 49ers as the standings indicate.

The Cardinals have won four of their last five to crawl to 5-7, which is five games behind the 49ers, who have clinched the division.

This is the first time they will have played the 49ers with Kevin Kolb at quarterback. That's significant, because the Cardinals thought John Skelton, who started three weeks ago in San Francisco, missed some easy throws early.

Kolb is coming off his best half of the season. He completed 9 of 14 passes in the second half for 203 yards and a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter and overtime, Kolb went 7 of 11 for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Kolb didn't play well in the first half of that game, so the second-half performance was reassuring to the Cardinals. They need Kolb to play well over the past month. They gave up a lot in a trade to get him and then signed him to a five-year, $63 million deal.

Last Sunday, Kolb displayed the skills that motivated the Cardinals to trade him. It was one half. The Cardinals are looking for more.

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