Terrell Owens, who played for both Dallas and San Francisco, would say "get your popcorn ready" because this is going to be a battle to the end. The Cowboys have the highest scoring offense in the NFL in large part due to Dak Prescott and his slew of weapons that surround him in the huddle.
Dallas can score a lot of points but when you look closely at their wins and points scored, most of them came against below average, non-playoff teams. The Cowboys went 6 - 0 in the NFC East and 6 - 5 against everyone else. The Cowboys couldn't hang with the Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Cardinals or Bucs. Out of these five teams, four of them are going to the playoffs. So it is fair to say that Dallas offensive numbers are slightly skewed because the hung 44 points on the hopeless Giants, 36 points hosting the pathetic Panthers and 43 points against the wingless Falcons. None of these teams are heading to the tournament which also includes Washington who the Cowboys beat twice. Most recently they dropped a 56 spot in week 16 against the WFT.
The common theme here is that Dallas can score a bunch of points, however the majority of their points scored came against non-playoff teams. Conversely, the teams they've lost to are playoff teams except the Broncos who beat up the Cowboys in Dallas earlier this season. So I'd say Dallas is inconsistent and that's bad news for them Boys' as they host the San Francisco 49ers 3rd ranked defense on wild card weekend.
The 49ers are one of those teams that nobody wants to play because of their physicality and weapons like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle who are as physical as you can get. The biggest factors of success for San Fran this season is being a top rushing offense behind a great offensive line and their front four on defense who are able to get to the quarterback without blitzing. This favors the 49ers very well because they constantly drop back 7 players in coverage and the Cowboys love to throw the ball.
The 49ers love to run the ball and it appears it doesn't matter who they stick in the backfield because the offensive line opens up big holes and control the line of scrimmage by moving foward and getting that extra push with maximum effort. You can bet the Niners will be running the ball 35+ times as Dallas is ranked 16th against the run.
If San Francisco is able to have success early rushing the football, it will make the play action passing game lethal with those weapons that now also include Brandon Aiyuk at wide receiver proving his first round draft pick worth. The guy throwing the ball to these play-makers is Jimmy Garopollo and let's be honest here, Jimmy G is a coin flip. We've seen him play great ball, leading 4th quarter comebacks but we've also seen him throw inexplicable interceptions and missing his wide outs on timing throws.
courtesy of Chat Sports
So as I said the Niners will predominatley run the football against the Cowboys mediocre run defense and try to drain the game clock while keeping that high scoring offense on the sideline. Dallas may have limited offensive opportunities so they'll need to make the most of them. The Cowboys key to victory is taking advantage of the 49ers middle of the road secondary and most importantly not turning over the football. If Dallas is to win this game it will be by throwing the ball. Dak is dangerous. He can throw the ball on the run and get out of the pocket to extend plays. The 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans must be aware and prepared for those type of plays.
This is a game where the head coaches matter almost as much as the players on the field. These two teams are very evenly matched with different styles of play. Which means mistakes must be at a minimum, limited or even absent from this game. In game and halftime adjustments may prove vital during this contest.
Let's pick a winner. First of all if it comes down to a field goal game, I favor the Niners as they have veteran Robbie Gould who has been one of the best kickers in the NFL for the last decade as opposed to Greg Zuerlein who is the wild card on wild card weekend. The Cowboys won't score a touchdown every drive so they will need Zuerlein to be at his best.
I do believe this match up comes down to a field goal game which is the number Las Vegas has the Cowboys (-3) favored by at home. Which means in their eyes, this is basically a pick em game. I'm picking the 49ers to win this game on the road because the game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage and the 49ers have the advantage on both sides of the ball. Guys like Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, D.J. Jones and Fred Warner have the speed and skill to get to the quarterback and make tackles in the backfield. San Francisco also has the best left tackle in the league in Trent Willliams along with feelow pro bowl player Alex Mack at center.
The key for the Niners is not giving up those big plays to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. If the 49ers can hold the Cowboys passing game to under 250 yards then San Fran will be victorious. Prediction: 49ers 29 - Cowboys 26