Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
49ers LG Mike Iupati vs. Cardinals DT Calais Campbell
Tale of the tape
Iupati (77): 6 foot 5, 331 pounds, fifth season, Idaho
Campbell (93): 6 foot 8, 300 pounds, seventh season, Miami
Iupati has produced an average start to his contract season, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system. Iupati ranks tied for 23rd in the NFL among guards with a neutral grade. He has a negative mark in pass protection and a positive grade as a run-blocker.
Campbell has gotten off to another strong start this season, as his outstanding play has helped the Cardinals (2-0) compensate for the loss of veteran defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in August. Campbell has 11 tackles, 10 of which are unassisted, with one sack and four quarterback pressures.
“He’s one of the more underrated players in the league,” 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “We felt that way for a while. He tips a lot of balls. He’s 6-foot-8. He plays the run very well. He pushes the pocket very well, as does their whole defense. Just a very good player and a lot of respect for him.”
It’s not certain whether Iupati is completely healthy after sustaining a broken lower leg in the NFC Championship game, but his performance in Week 2 was improved over his showing in the season-opener. Campbell provides one of the stiffest challenges Iupati will face all season. Campbell dominated last week in a 25-14 victory over the New York Giants last week with a sack. He had a sack-fumble negated due to a downfield penalty.