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Final Thoughts Ahead of Cowboys-49ers Playoff Game

We're just a few hours away from the biggest kickoff of the ' . What's the confidence level going into this playoff showdown with the ? Here are my for the .

Going into this season the two biggest questions were how would return from a major and how the would improve for historically bad play in 2020. Appropriately, these are the two biggest factors for the Cowboys today.

As you've been hearing all week, the 49ers' rushing attack and tough defense are their greatest strengths. But if Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' play up to their best, that shifts the pressure to San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

This is how Dallas' can help its defense. Putting heat on Garoppolo makes him prone to mistakes. With only 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions this season, Jimmy G hasn't been asked to carry his offense and could be exposed in a shootout.

But this is where the Cowboys' improvement on defense also has to manifest. The last time we saw Dallas in the , the rushed for over 250 yards and bounced us from the tournament in embarrassing fashion.

Sure, that was three years ago, but is still a concern for the Cowboys today. They were only 16th against the run in the regular season and gave up 4.5 yards per carry. If 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell and versatile WR are allowed to run with impunity, Dallas will have to be close to flawless in its own offensive execution to keep pace.

In general, the vibe all week has been very pro-Niners. But while San Francisco certainly has strengths and is a worthy playoff opponent, it's almost like people have forgotten who has homefield advantage today and won 12 games this year. The push to promote the 49ers' chances as the underdog has gone too far, now making them sound like the favorite.

I certainly expect this to be a close game. Like , I don't love this matchup for Dallas compared to others they could have had.

But as has proven, especially in the NFL's modern era, superiority carries a lot of weight. The Cowboys have that critical advantage, but that's dependent on Dak Prescott, his receivers, and blockers doing their jobs and executing the way we know they can.

Hopefully we see the best of the Cowboys offense today. And even more hopefully, they do enough that the game won't be decided by .

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Cowboy Fan Ed

I said earlier this week that if our defense brings the heat run blitz the A gap if no run get after JG put him on the ground early and often ! Play man coverage ! We might give up a play here and there but will be ok at the end of the day! On offense play fast get Dak in a good rhythm early ! We set the tone and dominate the line of scrimmage! Let’s here some other thoughts before kick off!!

VAM

Hey CF Ed, my take is, this game is very hard to figure out IMO. Don’t like the fact the betting line started at about 6 and now is at 3.

Besides that, I think it comes down to which DP will we see today, the good or not so good. He has been inconsistent, mostly in the second half of the year. That Philly blowout was not a good indicator, as the Eagles were not even playing it like a regular season game. And Philly just isn’t good anyway.

Jess states that Garoppolo needs a good running game. I think DP needs that also. Yes, DP has the the better stats than JG, but there possible reasons for that. None less important than the big difference in the divisions they play in. NFC West is the toughest, NFC East is weakest.

If EE and TP can combine for around 135+ yards, we have a good chance at winning. If they have around 70 or less, it may be a tough day.

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