Welcome to Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season! This week's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers is shaping up to be an interesting one, a renewed rivalry if you will. Both teams are considered to be among the best in not only the NFC, but in the entire league, making this a potential playoff preview for later this year.
On paper, the Cowboys and 49ers look eerily similar throughout their rosters. They have some of the best skill position players on offense and both of their defenses are designed to consistently apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks. They are close to being a mirror image of one another, which only makes this matchup all the more intriguing.
Today, we are going to take a look at some key matchups that could help sway the game one way the other depending on the outcome. If the Dallas Cowboys want to prove they are among the league's best, they will more than likely have to win these matchups in order to secure a victory over a very good San Francisco 49ers team.
Cowboys' defense vs. 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey
Other than the uncharacteristically poor play that allowed James Conner to run wild in Week 3, the Dallas Cowboys have done really well shutting down opposing running backs so far this season. Christian McCaffrey though is an entirely different animal than they've faced all year. As both a runner and receiver, he has the ability to pretty much take over the game all by his lonesome. If the Cowboys want any chance of winning this Week 5 matchup they will have to find some way to limit his production Sunday night.
Cowboys' DE Micah Parsons vs. 49ers' DE Nick Bosa
Micah Parsons and Nick Bosa aren't going to be going head-to-head against each other at any point in Week 5, but this is still a matchup to keep an eye on nonetheless. These two are arguably the best young pass rushers in the entire league and are more than capable of altering the outcome of the game in their team's favor. Whichever one is the more successful could also be the one that helps their team earn the "W". The Cowboys and 49ers offensive tackles will both need to be at their best to try to contain these two.
Cowboys' WR KaVontae Turpin vs. 49ers' defense
His offensive role has been minuscule so far this season, but this Week 5 matchup might be the perfect time for the Cowboys to get KaVontae Turpin more involved. When No. 9 is on the field, Nick Bosa and Company won't be able to pin their ears back and get after Dak Prescott as easily. They will be forced to hold their ground for at least a split second to account for any trick plays to Turpin, thus giving Dallas' offense more time to execute the game plan. This could essentially help neutralize one of the 49ers' greatest strengths.