A rivalry renewed. Back in the 1990s the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers had a mutual respect, and hatred, for one another. Fast forward about 30 years later and this one-time bitter rivalry will take center stage in the Wild Card Round at AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Both teams have their backs against the wall now that everyone in the playoffs is in a do-or-die situation. That means no one will be holding anything back and will be playing all out to do whatever it takes in order to come away with the victory and continue the journey to the Super Bowl. For that happen though, certain matchups need to be exploited and won.
Dan Quinn vs. Deebo Samuel
The 49ers do-it-all running back/wide receiver Deebo Samuel is arguably the most talented and versatile offensive weapon the Dallas Cowboys have had to game plan for all season. How they try to contain him will likely have a huge impact on this Wild Card Round matchup. Because of that, Dan Quinn has to figure out some way to limit his effectiveness in both the running and passing game. A combination of Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons seems the most logical, however, he could have something else in mind altogether. Whatever the game plan is though, keeping Samuel in check is definitely at the top the list.
La’el Collins vs. Nick Bosa
La’el Collins has had his ups and downs this season and can’t afford to slack off even a little this week against a very talented 49ers defensive front. His main objective Sunday afternoon will be that of keeping Nick Bosa at bay in order to keep Dak Prescott protected long enough to find his open receivers. Bosa is a relentless player who has accumulated 15.5 QB sacks this season. Collins will need to be on top of his game in this Wild Card Round matchup if the Dallas Cowboys want to have any chance at advancing further in the playoffs. If he’s not, an early exit in the postseason could fall heavily on his shoulders.
Cedrick Wilson vs. 49ers’ secondary
Cedrick Wilson may not be a household name like Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb, but his rapport with Dak Prescott and versatility to be a threat on all three levels of the field could be the Cowboys secret weapon against the 49ers. No offense to Michael Gallup, but Wilson has the ability to line up anywhere to help open up things in the passing game because of it. Kellen Moore can get really creative about how he deploys not only him, but the rest of the receivers as well. The 49ers fifth-ranked defense in passing yards allowed probably won’t be able to cover everyone, making No. 1 is the most likely to slip through the cracks.