The San Francisco 49ers collide with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wildcard showdown on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium. The 49ers finished in 3rd place in the NFC West with a 10-7 record. The Cowboys won the NFC East with a 12-5 tally. Dallas posted a 41-33 home win against the 49ers last season.
49ers Big Second Half Propels Wildcard Berth
The San Francisco 49ers enter the Wildcard game with momentum. They have won four out of their last five games including a thrilling 27-24 overtime road win over the Rams in the season finale in a tilt that had the 49ers tabbed as 3.5 point dogs. It didn’t look good early in the season as the 49ers only won two of their first six games but had a terrific second half. They have covered the spread in four out of their last five games overall.
Jimmy Garoppolo was efficient late in the season, connecting on over 70% of his pass attempts in three consecutive games. The problem is the interceptions. He has tossed six picks in his last five games. Garoppolo has accrued a total of 3810 passing yards accompanied by a 20:12 TD to INT ratio. He is playing with a bone chip in his thumb but it didn't affect his performance vs. the Rams.
The 49ers have a productive running game led by Elijah Mitchell. The 23-year old RB eclipsed 100 yards in five of his 11 games and has 963 rushing yards on the season. Deebo Samuel will play a big factor in this one. The 25-year old brought in 317 receiving yards in his last three games and is 5th in the NFL with 1405 receiving yards. The San Francisco consistently produced, scoring at least 23 points in eight out of their last nine games
The 49ers' defense is their top strength. They were able to limit the Rams to only 265 total yards in the season finale and are accustomed to defending potent offensive units in the Rams and Cardinals, so they will be ready for the Cowboys. There are no real flaws on this defense, ranking 6th against the pass and are 7th against the run. San Francisco is scoring an average of 25.1 points, good for 13th in the NFL. They are limiting foes to 21.5 points, good for 10th overall.
Cowboys Win NFC East, Prescott Dazzles
The Dallas Cowboys were able to win the NFL East with no issues. They have registered a win in five out of their last six games with the only defeat in that span occurring in a narrow 25-22 decision against the Cardinals. The Cowboys won the season finale over the Eagles by a 51-26 score to cover the 6.5 point spread. Dallas has covered the points in five out of their last six clashes overall.
Dak Prescott is having an MVC caliber season. The 28-year old owns a ridiculous 12:0 TD to INT ratio in his last three games overall and has collected 4449 passing yards complemented by a 37:10 TD to INT ratio on the season. He has gone four straight games without tossing an INT.
The Cowboys' rushing offense is above average. Ezekiel Elliot was inconsistent at times but finished with just over 1000 yards on 4.2 yards per rush. Tony Pollard is capable of damage. The 24-year old is questionable with a foot injury. Dallas has a strong receiving corps led by CeeDee Lamb with 1102 yards. Amari Cooper was more productive than Lamb later in the season and has tallied 865 receiving yards. The Dallas offense leads the NFL in total yards and has eclipsed 30 points eight times this season.
The Cowboys' defense is above average but not elite. They will give up yards in the air, ranking 20th against the pass, and I believe the 49ers' best chance to win will be with a solid output from the passing offense. CB Trevon Diggs is questionable. The Cowboys rush defense is tabbed 16th. Dallas leads the NFL with 31.2 points on the season. They are conceding an average of 21.1 points, good for 7th overall.