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Cowboys news: A rivalry renewed in the Bay Area this Sunday

Thursday morning news ahead of the Cowboys at 49ers

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NFL: JAN 22 NFC Divisional Playoffs - TBD at 49ers Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nick at Nite: Cowboys sending unwrapped package to SF - Nick Harris,

The Cowboys have yet to show their hand offensively after blowout wins.

As the offense prepares to take the field on Sunday night, they will bring with them a newer offensive system than what they’ve shown San Francisco in the past with Mike McCarthy now calling plays. But what’s unique to this matchup specifically is not the opponent nor the man calling the plays.

It’s the offense itself, in its entirety, that’s still awaiting to be unleashed.

Typically at this point in the season, you’re staring at an offense that can be mostly scouted based on what it’s put on the field and on film through four weeks, but the Cowboys have had the rare luxury of not having to dig too deep into the offense through four weeks of the season which allows for a little more secrecy and a behind-curtain feel going into week five.

So, with so much still remaining in the bag and a big test against the 49ers looming, is there an advantage in not having to reveal too much to this point?

“I would say [an advantage] is definitely a possibility, especially in getting ready to go against the opponent that we’re getting ready to go against,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said on Monday. “They do what they do [San Francisco]. They don’t change very often. They’re just a really disciplined group. It is a good benefit for us.”

Playoff losses to 49ers have Cowboys motivated ahead of Week 5 tilt - Todd Archer, ESPN

Revenge for the past adds motivation for the future.

Dak Prescott almost let a cuss word come out of his mouth.

In each of the past two years, the Cowboys’ season has ended with a playoff loss to San Francisco, including a 19-12 loss at Levi’s Stadium in the divisional round on Jan. 22. While that defeat is more than eight months old, it still drives Prescott.

“I mean every eff —,” Prescott said, catching himself. “Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day.”

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones called the win against the Patriots “surreal” and admitted it was hard to believe the Cowboys handed coach Bill Belichick the largest defeat of the future Hall of Fame coach’s career.

But even the owner is ready to think about the 49ers.

“There’s nothing early about that,” Jones said. “Here it is.”

In their 19-12 win last January, the Niners ran the ball 32 times for 113 yards and a touchdown. Prescott was intercepted twice, including one at the San Francisco 12 when the score was tied in the second quarter.

The locker room was raw, so much so that Prescott did not feel like recounting it Sunday.

“I mean we’re so far past that that to be honest with you, that’s obvious,” Prescott said. “I mean, you just want to piss me off going into this week, I appreciate that. I do actually. I do.”

Cowboys’ Micah Parsons isn’t worried about sack numbers as impact is seen elsewhere - Calvin Watkins, DMN

Parsons is putting up dizzying numbers, even if sacks are not one of them.

Micah Parsons didn’t register a sack in the victory over the Patriots last week. It’s the other things that he does that are almost as important.

NextGen Stats credited Parsons with nine quarterback pressures, his eighth consecutive game with five or more pressures. It’s the second-longest streak in the NextGen Stats era. This season, Parsons leads the NFL pressures (29), pressure rate (27.4%), positive rush rate (24.5%) and average pressure probability (24.8%).

Cowboys' offense vs. 49ers' defense likely to decide Sunday night's showdown - Jon Machota, The Athletic

The Cowboys' offense has come up short late in season-ending losses in the playoffs the past two seasons against the 49ers.

In the two playoff losses, Prescott’s combined passer rating was 66.7. He averaged 230 passing yards, totaling two TD passes, one rushing TD and three interceptions.

“I’m disappointed in my play,” Prescott said after the 19-12 loss in January. “For us to only put up the points that we did, that’s unacceptable, and it starts with me. I’ve got to be better. There’s no other way to sugarcoat it. I’ve got to play better than I did. Simple as that.”

If the Cowboys’ talented defense plays as poorly as it did in Arizona, nothing their offense does will matter. But it’s highly unlikely that Micah Parsons and the Dallas defense will have that type of outing in a game of this magnitude. That side of the ball has been outstanding during the Cowboys’ three lopsided wins.

“Make no mistake about it, we’re gonna get better in the red zone,” Jones said. “I’ll assure you we’ll be better in the red zone than we’ve been. A skeptic could say, ‘Well, it doesn’t take much to get better.’ The facts are we can get better when it counts, and this weekend would be a good place to start.”

Cowboys say bout vs. 49ers ‘not just another game,’ motivated to face team that ended their past two seasons - Garrett Podell,

The Cowboys know this is not just another game.

“It’s an important game,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “You understand the history and there is obviously a lot of tradition with this game. That’s all part of it. You live to play in these kinds of games. You dream to play in these types of games. You don’t want to make it bigger than it is, but the reality is it’s not just another game.”

McCarthy’s line of thinking is understandable. Both of these teams have been two of the NFL’s most unrelenting units in 2023.

“There’s no bitter taste, this is a top NFC team,” Cowboys All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons said postgame Sunday. “I think [it’s] us, Philly and the 49ers [at the top of the NFC]. This is a playoff game. This is something you look forward to. … It’s going to be a test. It’s going to be back and forth. It’s going to go down to the wire. It’s almost a rivalry at this point. It is going to be super exciting.”

“They have a big line, two strong backs, so we thought that was one of the ways they [the Patriots] would attack for sure,” Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said Monday. ”That has been the formula for San Francisco, you can see the effectiveness of their [4-0] start just in the run game, scoring and finishing. McCaffrey is at the top of that list for sure. We have a lot of work cut out for us for sure. Still getting into the planning, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Cowboys first injury report prior to their Week 5 game at San Francisco.

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