The 49ers usually have a nice familiarity with their NFC West foes. Not with these Cardinals, because so much has changed in Arizona.
Coach Jim Harbaugh and his San Francisco coaching staff are doing more studying leading up to today's game at Candlestick Park. There's new coach Bruce Arians, new quarterback Carson Palmer, and an upgraded, swarming defense that is winning games much like the Niners' vaunted unit.
There's also familiar faces who have put up plenty of big numbers and stats against San Francisco: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Daryl Washington.
“Quite a bit's new,” Harbaugh said. “New coaching staff, new players. Quite a few guys that are staples on their team. But they've added a mix of quite a few good players and it's really a new team in that regard and they're playing very well.”
Arians typically talks to close friend and Colts coach Chuck Pagano every Friday, and now he can pick Pagano's brain on what worked for Indianapolis in a 27-7 win at San Francisco.
“We have to play them in a few weeks, I don't think he's going to tell me too much,” Arians said with a chuckle.
Anquan Boldin launched his career with the Cardinals, who selected him in the second round of the 2003 draft out of Florida State.
He became the fastest player to 500 catches in his 80th game in December 2008, and still holds an Arizona franchise record with five straight games with 100 yards receiving.
Not that Boldin is becoming sentimental about this weekend's matchup. He won a Super Bowl last season with the Baltimore Ravens, beating his new team.
Boldin no longer has a home in Arizona, with Florida his home base.
“It's just another game for me. It's a divisional game,” Boldin said. “I'm four years removed from Arizona, so it's pretty much a turnover.”
49ers vs. Cardinals
WHEN: Sunday, 1:25 p.m.
WHERE: Candlestick Park
TV: Fox (KTVU, Ch. 2)
RADIO: KNBR (680 AM), KSAN (107.7 FM)