Connect with us

Game Notes

Cowboys at 49ers Staff Picks

Published

on

The bye week is over. Sean Lee is healthy. Ezekiel Elliott will play. Oh, and the Dallas Cowboys are in California this week to play the San Francisco 49ers. A lot has been said all week about this game, and mostly about how the Cowboys can right the ship by beating the 49ers, but is it really that simple?

Through five weeks of Dallas football, the Cowboys have struggled to get the ground game going. They’ve fielded an unspectacular defense that, at times, looks totally lost on plays, and generally can’t tackle. And they’ve consistently failed to close out games.

In spite of little turnover among the front seven, opposing running backs have marched at will. The secondary is mostly new, save for Byron Jones, yet the familiar sight of ill-prepared players failing to effectuate Rod Marinelli’s cover defense continues.

I think beating the 49ers, while a step in the right direction, is just the beginning for these Cowboys.

The San Francisco 49ers might be an 0-6 team right now, and they’ve recently named a very young quarterback as their starter, but a winless team is a hungry team.

A winless team is one with little to lose and much to gain. Teams like that can be creative and fierce, and they can turn a virtually guaranteed route into an upset before anyone can figure out how. And these 49ers have suffered some very close losses this year.

Now, with that said, the Dallas Cowboys have a key member of their defense back this week. Sean Lee was sorely missed. He’s the captain of the defense, the general on the field, and having him back should help the Cowboys contain the 49ers. It should also give Jaylon Smith a spell, which we all know is needed.

Ezekiel Elliott was given temporary relief from the league’s impending suspension and gets another chance to help this team win a ball game. Is it enough?

The offensive line hasn’t been what we know they can be and Zeke’s success has floundered as a result. He’s turned some sure losses into gains by just being Zeke, but we’re going to need more than that.

We’re going to need the league’s best offensive line to make an appearance.

You might say that’s all terribly negative. Indeed, there’s a bitter undertone to my words that I think can be detected even through plain text. It’s not negative or pessimistic, though. It’s just knowing what happens if the 49ers get their first win of the season tomorrow. Stuff starts hitting the fan.

It’s also a little realism. These Cowboys haven’t been dominant this year. If only week one could have lasted the whole season, right?

But enough with all of that. The game must be played for us to know exactly which Cowboys team is going to show up, so let’s get down to the writer’s analyses. As always, I encourage you to add your own predictions for the game in our comments section below.

✭ ✭ ✭

Dallas Defense Dominates

The Dallas Cowboys defense gets back on track against newly named starter C.J. Beathard. DeMarcus Lawrence adds to his league leading sack total and David Irving continues his strong start to the 2017 season. John Williams – @john9williams

Cowboys 31 – 49ers 17

✭ ✭ ✭

Cowboys Defense Comes Up Big After Shaky Finish

A lot of fans think this game is going to be a cake walk for the Cowboys. That’s not the case. The 49ers are obviously 0-6 but have played tight in every game so far this season. Dallas will jump out to an early lead, but continue to struggle in the second half. Dallas wins this one by the skin of their teeth with the help from a late strip-sack by DeMarcus Lawrence. Connor Livesay – @Connorx147

Cowboys 28 – 49ers 23

✭ ✭ ✭

Beat-down by the Bay

The Cowboys have had two weeks to stew over tough losses to the Rams and Packers. They are going to come out as fired up as we may have ever seen them, and that’s bad news for the hapless 49ers. Jess Haynie – @CowboysAddicts

Cowboys 34 – 49ers 16

✭ ✭ ✭

Cowboys Get Back to Blueprint of Past Success

Is it overly optimistic to think the Dallas Cowboys can put four quarters of football together to finally defeat an NFL team? I don’t think so, and I believe this is the week they do it. I’m predicting we see a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott to control the game clock and help hide the defense. It’s a blueprint that has worked for them in the past and something I think they want to get back to. Brian Martin – @BrianMartinNFL

Cowboys 34 – 49ers 24

✭ ✭ ✭

Everything Is All Right

For the second time in the season, the Cowboys need to make an “everything is alright” kind of statement. It’s been a tough start, but the Cowboys start turning things around with a comfortable win versus San Francisco. Mauricio Rodriguez – @PepoR99

Cowboys 30 – 49ers 20

✭ ✭ ✭

Back to Dak-ction

Seeing so many in Cowboys Nation refer to the Cowboys’ return to the field as a “get well game” on Sunday is, to be completely honest, worrisome. The Cowboys have found new ways to keep opponents in games each week, and that will get you beat more times than not in this league. The 49ers have done everything they can to get their first win, and while I expect them to put up another fight at home, this game will be all about the Dallas offense dominating off the bye. The difference this time – Marinelli’s defense responds with Sean Lee back on the field against a rookie QB, and the Cowboys get a needed win. Sean Martin – @SeanMartinNFL

Cowboys 38 – 49ers 17

✭ ✭ ✭

Turn This Season Around

To be honest, I just think the Cowboys are a better team than the 49ers. While the 49ers’ record is a bit fraudulent (they should have a couple wins), they still cannot match up talent-wise with the Cowboys for four quarters. Let’s hope that the “real” Cowboys show up Sunday looking hungry after their bye week. Kevin Brady – @KevinBrady88

Cowboys 27 – 49ers 17

✭ ✭ ✭

Take Nothing for Granted

The Cowboys are in a tough spot right now. The 49ers are in a tougher spot. This game has season long implications for both teams, and I expect the game plans from both head coaches to include “fight for every inch” somewhere. The 49ers have a knack for losing nail-biters this season, and I expect Dallas to do just enough to give them their seventh nail-biter loss. Bryson Treece – @BrysonTreece

Cowboys 31 – 49ers 27

✭ ✭ ✭

Looks like we’re all in agreement here, on everything except the margin of victory, but I’d like to know what you think of the coming matchup between the Cowboys and Niners. Comment below. As always, Go Cowboys!

ADVERTISEMENT

This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

Advertisement
2 Comments
  • James Howerton

    This game could be dangerous for Dallas. This kind of reminds me of the first game of the season; I think Dallas spent the whole off-season preparing for their first opponent, the team they hate the most, the N.Y. Giants. They came out prepared for that game but after they won it was like they forgot they had the rest of the season to play. After that game they looked completely lost compared to what I was expecting. We all know they have plenty of talent on Offense and after the first game it looked like the Defense was going to be OK. Unlike a lot of what I’ve read, I still believe in this coaching staff especially the DC. I hope the Cowboys come out strong, drive the length of the field and put 7 on the board. Then I hope our D looks confident, tackles well and forces some sacks and turnovers and a lot of 3 and outs. Then we need to continue in this manner for the full 60 minutes and finish the game STRONG. We need it after starting so well by defeating the Division rival who has given us so much trouble in the past, beating them and falling back into that familiar yo-yo pattern of the last few years that we’re all so familiar with. This 49ers team will play us like this game is their Super Bowl like all teams play us, which is why we ALWAYS have to be at our best. Go Big D!

  • Russ_Te

    Dallas 28-17
    SF 28-17

    One of those… ;^)

    I think a lot of shakeups may emerge tomorrow – maybe Butler starting, Heath not starting, more pass to establish run. But they must improve in the secondary if this is to be a contending season, and with Awuzie unable to get healthy it’s time to see how much Lewis and Woods can impact the unit.

    I don’t know what the fortunes are for this defense. I think I can get more consistent pressure now by setting Irving up inside next to Lawrence. It would help a fledgling secondary, and Lee helps everything – but there is no way to project whether they get better short term and start contributing to wins, or if this is effectively a rebuild year for the unit.

    While the last thing the defense needs to be more of a help is more field minutes, I think the Cowboys have to start making defenses pay for loaded boxes. Get a long hit to Butler early in single coverage, now they go back to 2 deep and can’t rotate over as much on Dez. Pass-to-run straps the offense to Dak more, but I like his chances with less pressure on 1st down.

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Game Notes

Forget Elliott For Now, Cowboys Must Focus On Raiders

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Despite looking dead to rights just two weeks ago, back to back wins have put the Dallas Cowboys into the playoff hunt with just three games remaining.

In order to even have a chance at sneaking in as the sixth seed, Dallas will need to win each of its remaining games to finish 10-6. In some ways, the playoffs started two weeks ago when Dallas took on the Washington Redskins. But even though this Sunday’s contest is another must-win, elimination game for the Cowboys, it’s also a classic “trap” or “look ahead” game as well.

Before the season started, most expected the Oakland Raiders to be competing for AFC supremacy. Like the Cowboys, Oakland bursted onto the scene in 2016 with a young quarterback, a dynamic offense, and an exciting roster. But, like the Cowboys, they have faltered a bit this season due to underperforming stars, injuries, and a somewhat undermanned defensive unit.

The Raiders are now 6-7, and while still alive in the AFC West race, saw their best shot at overtaking the division go up in a smoke last Sunday as they were demolished by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Simply put, the Raiders are not a very good football team right now. And though this will be a road game for the Cowboys, it is one they should win if they are truly a playoff team. In fact, it’s one they have to win if they want to keep their slim playoff chances alive.

The reason why this could potentially be a “trap” game of sorts is who the Cowboys are scheduled to play after traveling to Oakland. A team who has been a perennial playoff contender in the NFC, and a team directly in front of the Cowboys in the current NFC standings – the Seattle Seahawks.

Not only will that Seattle game be massively important to the Cowboys if they can sneak out of Oakland with a victory, it will also feature the return of star running back Ezekiel Elliott from his six game suspension.

December 24th will be a huge day in Dallas if the Cowboys can get to 8-6 this week, but they can ill-afford to look ahead to that potentially important showdown with the Seahawks. Because if they do and the Raiders upset them at the home in primetime, the Cowboys season will end before Elliott even gets the chance to come back.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Game Notes

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants’ Blitz

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

While much of Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants featured some ugly football from the Dallas Cowboys, the team continued to fight until completing a 20 point route of their division rivals.

Of course, stars emerged on both the offense and the defense throughout the game. Rod Smith had a breakout day, Dez Bryant made a couple of “vintage” plays, and Sean Lee returned to health and led the defense to a fantastic performance.

But as we all know, quarterbacks make the world go ’round. And no matter how great the other pieces play, it’s hard to win football games unless you can maintain high level quarterback play.

Dak Prescott returned to that high level against the Giants on Sunday.

Even if Prescott is missing throws or having accuracy issues, he had never lost his composure or made the wrong reads until that Atlanta Falcons debacle. I really believe that Dak lost faith in his protection, began abandoning clean pockets, and ended up having a few bad games in a row.

All seems right with Prescott now, as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns during the Cowboys’ big win. The area he was most impressive, was with those reads – specifically against the blitz.

dalvsnyg dak to dez td – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

On his first touchdown pass of the game, Dak Prescott beats the blitz perfectly. Just before snapping the ball, Prescott notices the safety roll down into the box. You can see him subtly move his arm to point out the safety, while calling it out to his linemen as well.

As soon as he gets the snap, Dak knows exactly where to go. The Giants tried to beat him with a delayed safety blitz, but once that safety comes, Prescott knows he has Dez Bryant in man coverage on the perimeter.

His eyes immediately snap that way, and his throw replaces the blitzer quickly. This allows Bryant to do the rest, and the Cowboys to tie the game.

dalvsnyg 17 cole beasley – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Later in the game we see more of the same from Dak Prescott. With the game tied at 10 the Cowboys faced a critical third down backed up in their own territory. The Giants once again show blitz, bring the  blitz, and Dak burns them for it.

The Giants show man coverage across the board pre-snap, with safety Landon Collins on the near hash. Cole Beasley is in the near-slot, and while he technically has a man over him directly, the Giants show 2-over-1 in the slot pre-snap. This usually tips off a blitz, as the Giants plan to bring their slot defender off the edge, and allow Landon Collins to cover Beasley one on one.

Prescott notices this pre-snap once again, and makes the defense pay. He quickly replaces the blitzer with his throw, allowing Beasley to make the easy catch underneath and then do the rest after the catch.

This may not seem all the difficult to do to those analyzing the game the next morning, but these reads indicate high level quarterback-ing from the Cowboys’ franchise leader, Dak Prescott.

Last season against the Giants, their defense was able to bring more than the Cowboys could block on key third downs a few times. Too often, Prescott and the passing offense could not beat those blitzes.

That was not the case this week at all.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Advertisement
Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending