Kickoff Sunday, Jan 22nd 6:30pm Eastern

Cowboys (
21.25) at

49ers (

Over/Under 46


Key Matchups
Cowboys Run D
9th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D
6th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
1st DVOA/1st Yards per pass
49ers Run D
15th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O
15th DVOA/19th Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
4th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O
11th DVOA/14th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • This is the only matchup in the Divisional Round of the playoffs that is not a rematch of a regular season game. 
  • Both of these offenses have been incredibly explosive during the second half of the season.
  • Each team can expect a huge step up in competition after dominating the first week of the playoffs.
  • The Cowboys will have a decision to make in how they want to attack the 49ers dominant run defense.

How dallas Will Try To Win ::

The Cowboys absolutely dominated the Bucs on Monday night as they exposed the shortcomings of a Tampa team that frankly did not deserve to be in the playoffs, and were only there by default from the lowly NFC South. The Bucs have the worst running game in the NFL, which means they had to lean heavily on the pass against a ferocious Dallas pass rush and secondary in a predictable manner – not a recipe for success. While the Dallas offense put on a show on the scoreboard, the manner in which they were able to play must also be examined in trying to gauge how that carries over into this week’s Divisional Round matchup with the 49ers. The Cowboys started off the game last week with an equal number of run and pass plays (15 each) prior to the two-minute warning. This matches up with the way Dallas often approaches games by leaning on their running game and building opportunities through the air by leveraging that success on the ground. However, this week they face a dominant 49ers run defense that ranks 2nd in both DVOA and yards per carry allowed. The approach Dallas takes with their play-calling early in this game will be very interesting and should have a huge effect on the way this game plays out. I would not expect the Cowboys to abandon the run completely – nor should they – but the most optimal approach would seem to be “flipping the script” a bit by using some play action and short area passing on early downs to set up the running game. The 49ers defense has teed off on teams who completely abandon the run, as a predictable approach lets incredibly athletic personnel pin their ears back. Still, teams who are smart enough not to bang their head into a brick wall on the ground generally have a greater chance of success.

Another thing that will be interesting to see for the Cowboys offense will be how they deploy their running backs. We are in the playoffs now and it is time to win or go home, playing on the road against the hottest team in football. Tony Pollard’s efficiency and explosiveness jump off the screen in film and the page in the box score when compared to Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys were able to keep their usual rotation in the backfield on Monday as they dominated the Bucs, but this week against the 49ers they will likely have no such luxury and will have to get their best players on the field to have a chance. Dalton Schultz and CeeDee Lamb are the top options for Dak Prescott in the passing game, and teams continue to attack San Francisco through the air. Charvarious Ward has been an elite corner for most of the season but was roasted by DK Metcalf in the first half last week. On the other side, Deommodore Lenoir has been tested often as teams look to attack the 49ers opposite where Ward is lined up. Lamb has been used more this season in games where the Cowboys are pushed, and this week seems to fit the bill. Lamb is often used all over formations and the Cowboys scheme him the ball when the game plan calls for it, and we should expect him to be an integral part of what they do on Sunday. 

How san Francisco Will Try To Win ::

<< Add Access >>


(No CC Required)