The Dallas Cowboys face the San Francisco 49ers in a Divisional Round playoff game on Sunday. This game is a re-match of last year’s Wild Card game that the 49ers won 23-17. This year, it’s the Cowboys who have to go on the road, and partially because of that, they are 4-point underdogs according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
This is a game between two evenly matched franchises. Both the Cowboys and 49ers have strong defenses and offenses that can score in bunches. The 49ers are the hottest team in the NFL with an 11-game winning streak while the Cowboys reclaimed their swagger with a beatdown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round.
It’s a hard call who to pick in this game. We surveyed a few NFL experts around the internet for opinions on the game, and even they are split on who will win.
The 49ers beat the Cowboys at their place in last year’s playoffs, so this will be a chance for the Cowboys to even things up. Dallas beat Tampa Bay on Monday night, so this is another road game on a short week, which will challenge them. The 49ers will actually have an extra day of rest since they played last Saturday. But the Cowboys seemed to find their offense against the Bucs, especially Dak Prescott. The 49ers have a better defense than Tampa Bay, but the Dallas offense will be able to move the ball. For the 49ers, it will come down to Brock Purdy against the Dallas pressure. Purdy has been outstanding since taking over as the starter with five games left in the regular season. He played well in beating the Seahawks last week, but this will be the best defense he has faced. The Dallas pass rush can be disruptive, which I think happens here. Prescott will get the better of it between the two quarterbacks in this one as Dallas pulls off the upset.
Pick: Cowboys 27, 49ers 26
A pick for the Cowboys. Any Cowboys win is a cover of the spread. One of the keys everyone is pointing to is the Cowboys pass rush versus Brock Purdy. The 49ers rookie has been outstanding, but the Cowboys hope to heat him up with the pass rush and force the inexperienced signal-caller into mistakes.
Lorenzo Reyes: 49ers 31, Cowboys 23
The Niners look like one of the most well-rounded, balanced teams in the playoff field. Kyle Shanahan devised a scheme that has allowed Purdy to shine. And while the Cowboys shook out of a recent slump in the wild-card round, the 49ers’ defense is elite at every level and should give the Cowboys fits.
A pick for the 49ers, and this highlights one of the strengths, their defense. Dak Prescott and his offensive line will have to solve that riddle in order for the Cowboys offense to get into a rhythm.
Dallas is good and has been for most of the season. Too much attention was paid to the Cowboys’ Week 18 loss to the Washington Commanders. That didn’t erase the rest of an impressive regular season. Dallas is a 3.5-point underdog vs. the 49ers and I’ll take the Cowboys. They have the ability to pull off the upset and advance to the NFC championship game. The 49ers have been very good, and we’ve heard a lot about it. The Cowboys have been really good too, and somehow that has been ignored.
A Cowboys pick.
The 49ers and Cowboys were the only teams to enjoy blowout victories in the wild-card round, with San Francisco delivering home and Dallas doing it on the road. Brock Purdy and Dak Prescott are the hottest QBs going into the divisional round. Nick Bosa and Micah Parsons also were respective leaders of nasty defensive performances.
The 49ers are riding an 11-game winning streak and have the greater depth and diversity of offensive weapons around Purdy. They also have a key home-field and rest advantage. Christian McCaffrey and the running game give San Francisco the edge, to the point of taking comfortable control in the fourth quarter.
Pick: 49ers win 31-24 and cover the spread.
A 49ers pick.
This is what we’re seeing everywhere. There doesn’t seem to be a huge consensus on one side or the other.
Some of the BTB staff ahs been picking games all year using Tallysight. Below are the picks for the Divisional Round, plus score predictions to see who should cover and who shouldn’t.
Jaguars vs Chiefs: The Jags are a good story, and a team for the future, but Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are a team for now. Chiefs 34 - Jags 17
Giants vs Eagles: The Giants will give the Eagles a good scare, but in the end the Eagles’ talented roster wins out. Eagles 31 - Giants 24
Bengals vs Buffalo: The Bengals just have so many injuries along the offensive line that the Bills will take advantage of. Bills 27 - Bengals 17
Cowboys vs 49ers: The Cowboys turned it on when the playoffs arrived. Brock Purdy’s run has been magnificent, but he has to lose sometime. Now is the time. Cowboys 29 - 49ers 27
Jaguars vs Chiefs: The magical run for Jacksonville comes to a halt against the AFC’s top seed as KC runs away 34-19.
Giants vs Eagles: It is going to be close, I think, but Philly winds up having too much and wins 27-23.
Bengals vs Buffalo: The Bills are just too good in this one, and get a 33-24 win.
Cowboys vs 49ers: OK, I’m a believer. Based on the weirdness with Maher, it is pedal to the metal, including some McCarthy daring on fourth downs, and the Cowboys pull this one out 34-28 to advance.
Jaguars at Chiefs: This should be a really entertaining shootout between two really talented quarterbacks, but Patrick Mahomes is just that much better. Chiefs win 37-35
Giants at Eagles: The Giants have been a nice surprise this year, but they were beat pretty soundly by Philadelphia both times this year. I don’t think this will be all that close, and the Eagles win something like 31-13
Bengals at Bills: Both of these teams barely scraped by divisional foes with backup QBs last week, so this will be interesting. Neither team has lost since before Thanksgiving, but I don’t trust the Bengals’ OL after all their injuries. Bills win 35-31
Cowboys at 49ers: Brock Purdy hasn’t faced a defense anywhere near as good as Dallas, and the 49ers in general have faced a pretty soft schedule. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have beat several good teams throughout the year, and I think they add another one to the list this week. Cowboys win 27-20
Jaguars at Chiefs: Andy Reid is too good off of a bye week to bet against. Trevor Lawrence and the Jags get off to a hot start but Mahomes and company are simply too much to handle. Kansas City wins, 30-20.
Giants at Eagles: Jalen Hurts’ inability to be as much of a threat on the ground due to injury plays a big factor in this game. The Giants play well and keep this one close, but Philly prevails in the end. Philadelphia wins, 26-20.
Bengals at Bills: This is the game of the weekend as Burrow and Allen duel in a shootout. The Bills get the ball last and it proves to be the deciding factor in the game. Buffalo wins, 30-28.
Cowboys at 49ers: I really hope I’m wrong about this prediction, but this is going to be a very challenging game for the Cowboys. San Francisco’s offense is going to cause many more problems for Dallas’ defense than the Bucs did, and that eventually will be the reason they lose the game. This one stays close until the fourth quarter when the 49ers’ ground game helps them pull away. San Francisco wins, 27-17
Jags at Chiefs: As fun as the Jaguars story is the reality is that the Chiefs are the Chiefs. Andy Reid is incredible off of the bye as has been noted and I do not see how that stops this year. Give me Kansas City, 31-19.
Giants at Eagles: Obviously we are all interested to see what a presumably fully healthy Jalen Hurts looks like. Assuming it is anything like what we last saw then even these plucky New York Giants do not stand much of a chance. It is the Divisional Weekend and this is the only Divisional matchup so I wonder if it is close, I’ll take the Eagles 30-28.
Bengals at Bills: Josh Allen is one of my favorite players but he is so volatile with the ball in his hands. This of course means that wonderful things can happen but it also means that terrible things are a possibility as well. The Bengals appear to be the more steady team and I think that wins out. I’ll take Cincinnati 34-30.
Cowboys at 49ers: I’m not above saying that I am emotionally compromised, we all are. I want so badly like we all do for the Cowboys to win this game. They are certainly capable of doing so and if they did we would literally experience something like we never have before. Give me Dallas, 27-24.
The Jaguars have exceeded all expectations and have had a miraculous season, however, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense is just to explosive for them to keep pace with. KC, 34-23.
The Eagles handled the Giants relatively easy twice during the regular season and shouldn’t have much of a problem doing so once again in the Divisional Round. Eagles, 31-17.
This game shapes up to be a shootout between Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. Sadly, the Bengals OL injuries is a significant concern and puts Burrow at a disadvantage in this matchup. Bills, 37, 34
Make no mistake, this is a revenge game for the Cowboys. I think they can do just enough both offensively and defensively to earn their second playoff victory on the road. Cowboys, 23-20