Is this the script to winning the game?
The Cowboys must keep their emotions in check and stick with the script to advance in the tournament this weekend. As the more talented team, the Cowboys cannot give away the game with turnovers, excessive penalties, blown assignments or kicking game miscues. Although they do not need to play a perfect game, the Cowboys can win comfortably if they play a clean game with minimal self-inflicted miscues.
Offensively, the Cowboys need to run the ball effectively to keep the 49ers from loading up on Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb on the perimeter. The 49ers’ secondary is vulnerable, but the Cowboys will need to run the ball enough to command some loaded boxes and single-high coverage on the outside. If Dak Prescott has enough time to attack against soft coverage on the perimeter, Cooper and Lamb could go bonkers as the primary options in the passing game. With Cedrick Wilson also flashing some skills as a key contributor, the Cowboys’ aerial attack could eventually overwhelm the 49ers in the second half.
On defense, the Cowboys will need to contain the running game to force Jimmy Garoppolo to carry the offense. The veteran passer is a turnover machine with questionable judgment and accuracy from the pocket. If Jimmy G. passes 25-plus times, the Cowboys’ ball-hawking defensive backs will have plenty of chances to snag an interception on a tipped pass or an overthrown ball. Considering how the turnover battle impacts, the bottom line, the Cowboys want to turn the 49ers into a passing team to increase their chances of taking the ball away.
If the Cowboys are able to match the 49ers’ physicality while showing solid gap discipline against the run, Mike McCarthy will guide his team past the Wild Card round with a big win at home.
Vikings rumors: Todd Bowles, Kellen Moore, DeMeco Ryans requested for HC interviews - Tim Daniels, Bleacher Report
Kellen Moore continues to be a hot name for teams looking to fill their HC vacancy.
Moore, 33, has quickly risen through the coaching ranks since his playing career ended in 2017. The former quarterback served as the Cowboys’ QBs coach in 2018 and was promoted to offensive coordinator the following year.
Dallas ranked first in total offense in both 2019 and 2021. They dropped to 14th last year when quarterback Dak Prescott was limited to five games because of an ankle injury.
Broncos covet Dan Quinn for head coaching; growing expectation Cowboys DC will be candidate to beat - Jason La Confora, CBSSports
The Denver Broncos may covet Dan Quinn, but does he covet the Broncos?
The Denver Broncos still have much work to do in their head coaching search, but league sources indicated even prior to the firing of Vic Fangio that the team had serious interest in Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and there is a growing expectation that he will be the candidate to beat for that opening.
The Broncos certainly have competition, as five teams have requested interviews with Quinn, and should the Raiders or Seahawks make a coaching change he would very likely be on the list of candidates there as well. But Denver has long looked like a great fit for the former coach of the Falcons, Broncos general manager George Paton has done a lot of work on him, and it would not surprise many around the league if at least some of the young coaches the Broncos have been interviewing until they could get an audience with Quinn end up as part of his staff in the event he does become their next head coach.
Cowboys or 49ers, who do you predict wins this Wild Card matchup?
Kyle Youmans: There is a lot of excitement around this game for many reasons, including the history and pageantry around these two legendary franchises and fanbases. But for me, my excitement is for a team who has a chance to be special. The 2021 Cowboys have done so many special things leading into this playoff run and have the talent to make a deep run if they play up to their expectations. San Francisco brings a tough matchup, especially with a defense that has been playing as well as any in the NFL over the last two months. But top-to-bottom, I believe Dallas is the deeper and more talented team which will ultimately show up this weekend. Dallas wins it in a statement to open the playoffs and set the tone for what is to come, 38-24.
Mickey Spagnola: The Cowboys have all the stars you would want, Dak, Zeke, CeeDee, Amari, Cedrick, Pollard, Schultz, Micah, Diggs, Gregory and D-Law. But this first-round playoff game against the 49ers will come down to the performance of that Cowboys offensive line, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and them. This line, with the gang all back together again, must perform admirably against the formidable San Francisco defensive front, both in creating running lanes for Zeke and Tony Pollard and protecting Dak Prescott. The Cowboys have the offensive firepower to win this game, but stars won’t come out unless the offensive line performs well. Gut says it will, meaning Cowboys Victory, 27-23, over the 49ers.
Jerry Jones expects mostly Cowboys crowd for rivalry playoff game with 49ers - Ryan Gaydos, Fox News
A loud, rambunctious hometown crowd could give the Cowboys a little extra advantage.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday he’s sure AT&T Stadium will be filled with mostly Dallas fans even though San Francisco fans are known to travel well.
“I’ll guarantee you this will be a Cowboys crowd, without question. … This is a home game, and we’ll get the benefit of the home crowd,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.
Cowboys could replace Mike McCarthy with Kellen Moore if team fails to meet postseason expectations - Jason La Confora, CBSSports
Rumors always abound when it comes to Jerry Jones.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may consider a coaching change should the team fall short of expectations this season, league sources said, with both of his top assistants to head coach Mike McCarthy drawing serious head coaching interest from other teams. Several sources who know Jones well indicated that a loss in the wild card round would prompt Jones to at least consider the direction of the team as coordinators Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore prepare for numerous head coaching interviews.
Jones has long been a huge proponent of Moore’s and believed early on in the young coach’s ability to mold an offense, work with quarterbacks and call plays. Dak Prescott has done his best work with Moore in charge and Jones is very comfortable with the coordinator’s demeanor and progress, viewing him internally as a future head coach as well. Losing Moore would be viewed by the Jones family as a significant departure, and although McCarthy has won a Lombardi Trophy, he took the job knowing Jones wanted to keep Moore as coordinator. McCarthy’s two-year tenure has also been filled with plenty of ups and downs.
“If this season doesn’t end the way Jerry thinks it should, don’t be surprised if Kellen Moore is their next head coach much sooner than later,” said one source who knows Jones well. “He does not want to lose him.”
Another source close to the owner added: “It’s not like there isn’t precedent for something like this. Remember what they did to keep Jason Garrett. It wouldn’t be out of character at all.”
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