A rivalry renewed? Revenge game? It really doesn’t matter how you want to classify this Divisional Round matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. It has the makings of being one for the history books if these two teams come out and play the way they are both capable of.
The Cowboys and 49ers have arguably been two of the best teams in the entire league this season, both offensively and defensively. Because of that, this is a game that could very well go either way. With that in mind, winning certain matchups this week could go a long ways in gaining a slight advantage if the Cowboys play their cards right. And if not, they could be in trouble.
Today, we will discuss a few of the many key matchups the Dallas Cowboys either need to take advantage of, or keep from being taken advantage of. Each one of the matchups mentioned below could end up swaying the game one way or another.
Cowboys’ defensive front vs. Deebo Samuel/Christian McCaffrey
The Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell duo combined for 168 rushing yards on 37 carries which helped lead the way in knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs last year. To find success this time around, Dallas’ defensive front absolutely must contain an even scarier duo in Samuel and Christian McCaffrey. Whether it’s in the running or passing game, the versatility these two playmakers bring to the 49ers offense will no doubt be one of the key factors in how this game plays out. This might very well be the most important matchup to watch this week.
Micah Parsons vs. 49ers’ offensive line
A week ago against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Micah Parsons continuously caused problems for both their offensive line and Tom Brady. For the Cowboys to increase their chances of defeating the 49ers they will need No. 11 to have a repeat performance. Expect Dan Quinn to use Parsons as a chess piece type of weapon to be deployed in a variety of different ways to apply pressure on the 49ers rookie QB Brock Purdy. How well the 49ers offensive line contains Parsons could go a long ways in determining the outcome of this game.
CeeDee Lamb vs. 49ers’ secondary
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf dropped 136 receiving yards and a pair touchdowns on just 10 catches against the 49ers secondary last week. Expect the Cowboys to try to find the same of success with CeeDee Lamb in this Divisional Round matchup. He’s been Dak Prescott’s favorite target in the passing game this season, and as such, will likely be targeted early and often to try to exploit the same weakness. No. 88 may not be as physically imposing as Metcalf, but his versatility to make plays all over the field could make him more difficult to contain.