5 reasons 49ers should be fearful of Cowboys in Wild Card round

Running back Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Running back Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Dallas Cowboys lines up against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

No. 2: 49ers pass rush will be challenged by Cowboys offensive line

The 49ers may potentially thwart a potent Dallas pass rush during the game, particularly with left tackle Trent Williams returning from an elbow injury that kept him out of Week 18.

But, just like the Niners’ own abilities in pass protection, the Cowboys aren’t exactly flukes when it comes to protecting quarterback Dak Prescott.

Interestingly enough, both San Francisco and Dallas have each allowed 33 sacks during the regular season, tied for 11th fewest. And while Football Outsiders gives a slight edge to the Cowboys in adjusted sack rate (5.6 percent to the 49ers’ 6.6 percent), it’s safe to say both teams’ pass-rushing efforts will be a key X-factor to the game.

Dallas offensive linemen Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin are quality blockers. If there’s a weak spot, it’s with center Tyler Biadasz and, to a lesser extent, right guard Connor Williams.

Those two will be the linemen the Niners’ interior pass rush will want to exploit.

If there’s some good news here, that’s precisely what San Francisco’s defensive line did in Week 18 in the win over the Los Angeles Rams, sacking quarterback Matthew Stafford five times, a good chunk coming from the inside.