SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Both the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals enter their game at Candlestick Sunday with 3-2 records.

“The 49ers are a lot better 3-2 than the Arizona Cardinals,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “(But) you can’t go in thinking, ‘okay, we’re better than they are,’ which they are. ‘We’re playing at home,’ which they are. ‘And we’re going to beat them.’ Well, you still have to go out and do it.”

Madden said the Arizona defense will challenge the 49ers.

“They’re big and they’re strong. They’re going to be tough to run against… Carson Palmer, their quarterback that they got in the off-season from the Raiders, he’s a hot and cold guy. If he gets hot, he can put some points up on you. You have to get him discouraged early in the game.”

The 49ers defense has been playing well despite the absence of star players Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis.

“Sometimes that happens, but it’s not good for the long run,” Madden said. “You still need your best players. I don’t think anyone is going to say ‘oh, we’re as a good a defense without them as we are with them.'”

Among the other match-ups this weekend, John likes the Saints-Patriots.

“That New Orleans team is pretty good. I’m not saying they’re the best, but they’re awfully close to the best. And I think if you don’t consider them in the top group in that NFC, I think you’re making a mistake.” (7:30)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 am Mondays and Fridays on KCBS during the NFL season.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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