The Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL playoffs is here. The Dallas Cowboys will continue their playoff run Sunday as they travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. Before these two teams square off in what figures to be an outstanding matchup, here are three bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
1) Dallas holds Defensive Player Of The Year Nick Bosa in check, not allowing him to register a sack or pressure
25-year-old pass rusher Nick Bosa has had an unbelievable season. The former first-round pick is a lock to win the NFL’s Defensive Player Of The Year Award, and rightfully so. Below are some of Bosa’s stats from his All-Pro campaign this season.
- 98 Total Pressures (2nd in NFL)
- 19.0 Sacks (1st in NFL)
- 30 QB Hits (1st in NFL)
- 90.7 Pass-Rush Grade (3rd in NFL)
- 23.9 Win % (2nd in NFL)
Bosa has recorded at least one sack in 13 of the 17 games he has played in and has recorded four multi-sack games. In Bosa’s career, San Francisco is a perfect 10-0 when he records two or more sacks in a game, including a 4-0 record this season.
If the Cowboys aren’t able to contain Bosa, he is capable of single-handedly carrying the 49ers’ defense. Bosa will be matching up against rookie tackle Tyler Smith plenty on Sunday, so the rookie is in for one of the toughest battles of his career. Luckily for the Cowboys, Smith will be up for the task. The prediction is brilliance from Dallas’ young tackle on Sunday, and with some help from tight ends and running backs, he is able to virtually take Nick Bosa out of the game.
The Cowboys set their focus on not letting Bosa beat them and they succeed, as the 25-year-old pass-rusher is held without a sack or pressure.
2) Dak Prescott puts together another spectacular performance, accounting for three total touchdowns
It’s fair to say that last Monday against the Buccaneers was the best performance of Dak Prescott’s career. In one of his most significant moments, Dak played about as well as the Cowboys could have imagined. Prescott was 25-of-33 (75%) for 305 yards and combined for five touchdowns (4 Pass 1 Rush). Prescott also led the NFL during Super Wild Card Weekend in EPA+CPOE (0.358) EPA/Play (0.736) and Success Rate (64.1%).
Dallas’ signal-caller was more than up for the challenge, and we’re going to see a similar type of performance this Sunday against the 49ers.
As good as San Francisco’s defense is, they haven’t faced a quarterback close to as talented as Prescott on their 11-game winning streak. Just a couple of weeks ago Jarrett Stidham, who has played in just 13 games in his NFL career, had a very successful day against the 49ers. Stidham completed 67% of his passes, threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns, and had a career-high QB Rating of 108.1.
Prescott will have the success that Stidham did in Week 17 on Sunday but won’t have the turnovers to go with it. Dak builds upon the best performance of his career with a three-touchdown day throwing two through the air and running one in on the ground.
3) Brett Maher goes from zero to hero
After what happened last Monday it just feels inevitable that this game is going to come down to the right foot of Cowboys’ kicker Brett Maher. The 33-year-old had the worst kicking display of his career against the Buccaneers, becoming the first player in NFL history to miss four extra points in a playoff game.
Dallas has stood behind their kicker this week and many of their players have come out to defend him publicly. On Sunday their belief in Maher will pay off, as he attempts and covers the biggest field goal of his life. Maher nails a 51-yarder as time expires, sending Dallas to the NFC Championship for the first time in 27 years.