2022 Record: 13-4
Last Meeting: 1/16/2022 23-17 49ers victory (Cowboys lead all time series 19-18-1)
Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan (57-48 record as a head coach)
Key Additions: RB Christina McCaffrey, QB Brock Purdy, CB Charvarius Ward, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, DE Drake Jackson
Key Departures: C Alex Mack, RB Raheem Mostert, DE Arden Key
The San Francisco 49ers 2022 season has certainly been an interesting one. They came into the year with the wide-spread belief that Jimmy Garoppolo was not only done being the quarterback of the team, but also thought to be a sure thing to no longer be on the roster. The 49ers were ready to forge on into the Trey Lance era and build around the second-year quarterback, but injuries to Lance early into the season changed everything. Garoppolo was thrust back into the starting role and tasked with keeping the season on track in a strange turn of events.
The Jimmy G reemergence did not last long as he himself would get injured paving the way for Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, to be the third quarterback to take snaps under center for the 2022 49ers. Fast forward to now and it seems that it doesn’t matter who is taking snaps for the 49ers as they continue to keep winning despite the turmoil. Riding into the divisional round on an 11-game winning streak, many feel that the 49ers are the team to beat and one of the league’s favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year.
Player to watch… Nick Bosa
The odds on favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa, will be a tall task for the Cowboys offensive line. Bosa has tallied 18.5 sacks on the season and has been a total nightmare for opposing offensive lines. His ability to wreak havoc on an offense makes him an absolute focal point for this Cowboys team on Sunday. If they are going to find a way to pull the upset and have another high-level offensive performance, it is going to start with limiting Nick Bosa and his impact on the game.
.@Seahawks v @49ers @nbsmallerbear on 3-14 the Seahawks got greedy! If they just kick a FG it’s 23-20 going into the 4th Q. @charless_94 changed all of that. Failure to plan for Bosa is a plan for Failure @dallascowboys #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/XgE8VGZURI— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 18, 2023
A matchup to watch all game will be the Cowboys tackles versus Nick Bosa. Specifically the matchup the 49ers will surely look to exploit with the rookie Tyler Smith assumingly manning the left tackle spot on Sunday. The Cowboys may be best served to provide Smith with some help via running back or tight end on obvious passing downs, Leaving him on an island versus one of the leagues most feared pass rushers could end up with disastrous results.
Don’t forget about… Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel is about as dynamic of a playmaker that there is in the NFL today. Every time Samuel touches the football he is a threat to take it the distance. Whether he is lined up in the backfield or getting passes traditionally, Samuel will need to be accounted for on every play if the Cowboys are going to be able to pull the upset on Sunday night. Samuel is fresh off a stellar performance in the wild card round as he was able to rack up six receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown against the rival Seahawks.
Deebo Samuel's 10.0% explosive run rate (15+ yards) is the 2nd highest among non-QBs with 100+ carries since 2021:— Scott Spratt (@Scott_Spratt) January 14, 2023
Rashaad Penny 10.8%
Deebo Samuel 10.0%
Tony Pollard 8.0%
Kenneth Walker 7.5%
Nick Chubb 7.5%
Travis Etienne 7.3%
Devin Singletary 7.1%pic.twitter.com/aLmL8z32cL
Samuel has shown the Cowboys first hand how he can wreck a game and end a season. His performance played a large role in last year’s wild card matchup between the teams that sent the 2021 Cowboys home. The 49ers have an abundance of weapons at their disposal and they will all play a massive role in the outcome of this game, but Deebo Samuel is as tough and consistent of a player as there is on the offensive side of the ball. He is certainly a player the Cowboys cannot afford to forget about.