Dallas Cowboys (0-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Bill Walsh Field at Candlestick Park
Kickoff: 1:05 PM
Here are five things to watch out for in the Cowboys vs. 49ers game:
49ers Passing Attack
For the 49ers offense to show signs of life it will need to score at least two passing touchdowns. 124 passing yards will not beat the Dallas Cowboys but if Alex Smith has time to throw, and if Jim Harbaugh takes the training wheels off, the 49ers passing attack can exploit a Cowboys secondary that is suffering from injuries. Still, with DeMarcus Ware giving Smith pressure all game Harbaugh may elect to go with last week’s strategy of playing it safe by running on third-and-long and leaning on the defense and special teams to win the game. The offensive line will need another solid game against the Cowboys because as soon as the protection breaks down, so does Smith’s confidence.
The Cowboys injuries include their two starting cornerbacks, Terence Newman (groin) and Orlando Sandrick (ankle). If Smith can complete passes more than ten yards the 49ers could take advantage of the Cowboys injuries. It is not too often you face a team with both of their starting cornerbacks out for the game. Rounding out the Cowboys injury report is guard Bill Nagy, (neck) doubtful, and WR Dez Bryant (thigh) who is questionable.
QB Tony Romo and head coach Jason Garrett will quickly want to show they have forgotten last week’s debacle against the Jets. Expect Romo and the offense to come out swinging as they try to take advantage of the 49ers weaknesses in the secondary. The Cowboys will not let up all game as they will want to run up the score to show they are a dominant team. The 49ers defense could use this to their advantage by forcing Romo to make bad throws with blitzes causing turnovers.
49ers Defensive Front Seven
The 49ers defense will have their hands full with Romo and the Cowboys offense. The only way the 49ers will be able to win the game is if they pressure Romo all game. If the 49ers give Romo time to throw he will make them pay with big passing plays. The Cowboys have two rookies starting on the offensive line so the point of attack is clear. Pressure Romo into trouble and the 49ers have a chance to win.
Special team’s coordinators don’t get a lot of name recognition but Niner fans who did not know about Brad Seely before last week’s game are fully aware of him now. Seely and his 20 years of NFL coaching experience were brought to the 49ers by Harbaugh. Seely’s impact was felt right away with Ted Ginn Jr.’s two returners for touchdowns last week, a kickoff and punt, which sealed a season opening victory for the 49ers. It has been a long time since the 49ers special teams was a threat. With the offense still a work in progression the special teams are in prime position to make up the slack with long returners that shorten the field of the offense.
Prediction: Cowboys 24 49ers 16
The 49ers will keep pace with the Cowboys all game but will enter the fourth quarter down by two touchdowns. Alex Smith will be leaned on to win the game through the air but in the end the 49ers will show they could not take advantage of a banged up Cowboys secondary and fall short of the win.