The Dallas Cowboys can’t beat teams with 10 or more wins.
It is not a law, but the narrative of the 2021 season.
dak prescott and the Cowboys want to change the narrative.
Prescott will play his first playoff game since 2018 after one of his best seasons as a pro, leading an offense that led the league in points (31.2) and yards per game (407).
Prescott also led the NFL with eight games with at least 100 rating points (a franchise record) and at least three touchdown passes.
But none of that will be relevant if the Dallas quarterback isn’t able to take his team to at least the NFC Championship Game, half a year after signing a four-year, $160 million contract extension.
Dak is 1-2 in the playoffs and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expects to win the Super Bowl, something this franchise hasn’t been able to do since 1995.
Dallas hosts the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in one of the Super Wild Card Weekend games.
The Niners won 10 games in the regular season and that’s just the kind of matchup the Cowboys have struggled with.
Dallas is 1-4 against opponents who have won 10 or more games. They could only beat the New England Patriots (in overtime); they lost to Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Arizona.
When the 49ers have the ball
One of the keys to this matchup will be the Cowboys’ plan to contain the wide receiver. Deebo Samuel, one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.
Samuel not only catches balls, he is also used as a running back in San Francisco’s offense and is even capable of throwing one or two passes, as he did last week with a pass to the end zone in the game against the Rams.
Samuel finished the season with 77 receptions for 1,405 yards, in addition to 365 rushing yards and a total of 14 touchdowns.
Speed is one of the weapons of the Dallas defense and it all starts with the rookie linebacker. Micah Parsons, who will be very important when Samuel is used in the “end-arounds” and “jet-sweeps” that the coach likes so much Kyle Shanahan.
When Samuel is in his role as wide receiver, the cornerback Trevon Diggs will be responsible for this unicorn of the Niners.
Diggs led the league with 11 interceptions and finished second with 21 passes defensed, but in his desire to always go for the ball, he also allowed a lot of big plays: 907 yards and 16.8 receiving.
It is true that Diggs has been spectacular this campaign, but Jimmy Garoppolo You must take the risk of challenging him.
The 49ers are 7-0 in 2021 when Garoppolo is not intercepted.
When the Cowboys have the ball
In losses to those teams with 10 or more wins, Dallas was unable to run the ball. Sometimes they had to give up the race for falling behind and other times they just couldn’t establish that part of the game.
The Cowboys averaged 62.5 yards on turnovers against Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Arizona.
Ezekiel Elliott he finished 2021 averaging a career-low 58.9 rushing yards per game; Tony Pollard contributed another 47.9.
If Dallas again struggles to run the ball, Prescott will have the onus to put the points on the scoreboard.
The perimeter of San Francisco, with the cornerbacks Josh Norman, Emmanuel Moseley and the rookie amber thomas, they’ll have to deal with one of the best wide-receiving corps in the league: CeeDee Lamb (1,102 yards, 6 touchdowns), Amari Cooper (865-8) and CedrickWilson, who took the place of the injured Michael Gallup and has responded with 6 touchdowns.
The 49ers defensive backs will need a lot of help from the front-7, which includes Nick Bosa, responsible for 15.5 of San Francisco’s 48 quarterback sacks, plus 21 tackles for loss of yards.
Two historical, face to face
This will be the first postseason meeting between two old rivals since the three consecutive NFC Championship Games, between 1992 and 1994.
It’s their eighth playoff game and the Cowboys lead the series 5-2, including 2-0 at home.
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Cowboys and 49ers revive an old rivalry in the Playoffs