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Cardinals have Niners attention

They’ve beaten the Cardinals five straight times and in
seven of their last nine meetings. Yet, the Niners do not
believe they have the Cardinals number.

“I think as players you never buy into that,” said
defensive tackle Justin Smith. “You know they’re
professionals, you know the type of guys they have on that
team, and we have a lot of respect for them. We know
we’re going to have to play well to go down there and beat

The 49ers are the only team to have beaten the Cardinals
over the last five games, a 23-7 decision in Week 11 that
preceded Arizona victories over St. Louis and Philadelphia
and has now followed with wins at St. Louis and against

“I think the team is really hitting its stride,” head
coach Jim Harbaugh said of the Cardinals. “They’ve done
it on the road and they’ve done it at home. They’re a
quality football team.”

The Niners have another reason not to overlook their
opponent Sunday: playoff positioning. Having already
clinched the NFC West, Smith said their focus now is on
trying to secure one of the top two seeds earning them a
first round playoff bye.

And as Harbaugh reminded reporters on a conference call
this week, if they or any team doesn’t come ready to play
each week, “you’ll get your butt kicked. That’s about as
fundamental as anything I know in professional football.”