The 49ers are favored to beat the Cowboys in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, but this expert is predicting a notable upset on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
One would have to go back all the way to the 1993 NFC Championship game to find the last time the Dallas Cowboys defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a playoff game.
Granted, the two teams have squared off against each other in the postseason only twice since then, the most recent occurrence being the nail-biting crazy-finale Wild Card bout at AT&T Stadium a year ago when quarterback Dak Prescott and Co. literally ran out of time trying to reclaim the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Niners fans won’t forget how their team held on in that game, though.
This Sunday, however, Prescott and the Cowboys will be seeking some vengeance, although they’ll have to do it at Levi’s Stadium and against the No. 1-ranked defense from the regular season. On top of that, San Francisco’s offense went from a scuffling unit early in the year to a top-10 group, too, thanks largely to the midseason addition of All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey and the shocking play from rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, the 49ers’ third option under center this season.
Sure, Dallas owns a top-10 offense and defense, too. But, traveling out west after having advanced in the Wild Card round by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, the extra rest and preparation go in the Niners’ favor.
So, it makes sense why San Francisco is a 3.5-point home favorite, according to WynnBET, right?
That’s what most of the experts around the league are guessing.
49ers vs. Cowboys: Expert predictions for NFL playoffs include one upset
By in large, nearly everyone is predicting the 49ers to beat the Cowboys in this matchup. The Niners are the higher seed, have the better defense and have played better football all around over the second half of the season.
That said, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco isn’t buying the trend of San Francisco’s win streak continuing. No, he’s predicting a Dallas upset in Santa Clara.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports — Cowboys 27, 49ers 26
"Purdy has been outstanding since taking over as the starter with five games left in the regular season. He played well in beating the Seahawks last week, but this will be the best defense he has faced. The Dallas pass rush can be disruptive, which I think happens here. Prescott will get the better of it between the two quarterbacks in this one as Dallas pulls off the upset."
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com — 49ers 27, Cowboys 21
"It’s not just that the 49ers have two extra days of rest. Nick Bosa, for example, has played fewer snaps in the past two games combined (65) than Micah Parsons did on Monday night (79).Dallas has a big edge at quarterback and is the rare team that can match San Francisco’s top-end talent, player for player. The Cowboys’ talent, however, isn’t as deep. Kyle Shanahan will put a target on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Barr, as well as cornerbacks DaRon Bland and Xavier Rhodes. Putting Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey together unlocks another level of this offense that even Parsons can’t erase."
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk — 49ers 24, Cowboys 17
"The 49ers have a collection of badasses who can roll out of bed and run through a brick wall. And even though coach Kyle Shanahan has downplayed it, he knows having two extra days makes a world of difference, especially with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn interviewing for the Broncos job when he otherwise should be preparing to crack Shanahan’s code, and to not have his own code cracked."