The Dallas Cowboys chances of making the playoffs are very small but they still have games to play, and up next is a San Francisco 49ers team that has had the same bad luck when it comes to injuries as the Cowboys this season. Both teams would like to finish the year strong and give their players optimism heading into next season. Let's take a look at the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers
2019 Record: 13-3
Last Meeting: 10/22/2017 Cowboys 40, 49ers 10
Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan
Offensive Ranking: 21st of 32
Defensive Ranking: 14th of 32
Key Additions: WR Travis Benjamin, OL Tom Compton, DL Kerry Hyder, LB Joe Walker
Key Losses: WR Emmanuel Sanders, TE Levine Toilolo, DL Sheldon Day, LB Elijah Lee, DL Anthony Zettel, TE Garrett Celek, WR Jordan Matthews, DL Earl Mitchell, DL Damontre Moore, OL Mike Person
Key Injuries: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Ankle), DE Nick Bosa (Knee), DT Solomon Thomas (Knee), DE Ezekiel Ansah (Bicep), S Jaquiski Tartt (Toe), CB Ken Webster (Hamstring), DE Dee Ford (Neck), TE George Kittle (Foot), WR Deebo Samuel (Hamstring)
Biggest offensive strengths and weaknesses
This is a pretty easy to figure out, the 49ers biggest offensive strength is their running game. The zone blocking scheme implemented allows their running backs to hit holes quickly to get to the second and third levels of defense. They also have multiple running backs that have the ability to run inside and outside, as well as make plays in the passing game.
This along with their play-action passing game makes it hard at times for defenses to stop them. Lucky for the Cowboys, the 49ers aren't at full strength already down their starting quarterback, tight end, and wide receiver. Their best running back is also banged up and questionable for the game. If the Cowboys linebackers, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, can get off their blocks and stay in their gaps they can stop this running game forcing back up Nick Mullens to throw the ball more than the 49ers want and potentially win the game.
Biggest defensive strengths and weaknesses
This defense has lost a lot of star power at all levels yet they are still playing at a high level and keeping their team in games. They've created six turnovers the past three weeks playing tough defense and getting hits on opposing quarterbacks. They play sound defense and don't give offenses anything easy and these are the defenses that have frustrated the Cowboys the most this season.
Unfortunately, it hasn't been enough as they lost two straight coming into this game. Down their two best pass rushers and veterans in the secondary, teams have been able to throw the ball against them. If the Cowboys offensive line can give Andy Dalton time they have the personnel to beat this defense. The 49ers don't have enough play-making cornerbacks to cover the talent the Cowboys have at receiver.