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The San Francisco 49ers’ Week 18 overtime win over the Rams to clinch their way into an NFC Wildcard spot must have felt extra sweet to QB Jimmy Garoppolo (finger) who said he was in pain every time he threw the ball, while WR Deebo Samuel was incredible, and their top-3 defense led by Nick Bosa and Fred Warner now facing one of the tougher offenses in the NFC.
The Dallas Cowboys have won five of their final six matchups in the regular season to move to 12-5 and win the NFC East, their playmaking QB Dak Prescott now looking healthy and firing on all cylinders to his superior targets – Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and TE Dalton Schultz – while RB Zeke Elliott seems mostly healthy and still a major threat from out of the backfield.
These two NFC rivals have played each other 37 prior times (including 7 postseason games), with the Dallas Cowboys winning 19 of those games and the San Francisco 49ers winning 17 of the games, plus there has been a tie.
San Francisco starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo hurt a finger in his throwing hand in the Week 16 game against the Titans, and now he has said that every time he throws the ball it feels like his hand is being torn off, not a good feeling when you are attempting so many passes.
Jimmy G’s injury could explain the two interceptions he through in the team’s desperation win over the Rams in Week 18, a potential weak spot that has the chance to go south quickly if he becomes unable to grip the ball properly after a week of practice.
The Niners have a good backup QB, Trey Lance, though the fact that he is a rookie works against him succeeding in the postseason, but HC Kyle Shanahan has proven he does not fear a challenge and chances are the team will get some help from rookie RB Elijah Mitchell.
It’s an age old concept, playing complementary football, meaning having all three phases of your team firing smoothly and effectively, with the offense on the field and scoring often because the defense has shut down the opponent quickly and the special teams have delivered the ball.
This season, the Cowboys seemed to struggle with all three parts of their roster working well in conjunction, a big picture problem that HC Mike McCarthy has seemed to figure out since his team has been winning games consistently, as in five of the last six in the regular season.
Now it will be up to QB Dak Prescott and RB Zeke Elliott to charge up the offense, for LB Micah Parsons and CB Trevon Diggs to get the defense going, and for placekicker Greg Zuerlein’s crew to keep the transitions smooth if this Cowboys team expects to go far in these playoffs.
One of the incredible playmakers of many on this San Francisco 49ers roster is dual-threat receiver Deebo Samuel, a 6’ 215-pound wrecking ball who started out as an NFL receiver but who has morphed into an effective running back, as well, a huge part now of this Niners offense.
So far in the 2021 regular season, Samuel has scored at least one touchdown in seven of his last eight-game appearances, his ability to shift gears and directions at will has left defenders stumbling, so far with 136 total touches for 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns.
One thing that San Francisco OC Mike McDaniel can count on is for Samuel to want the ball and to deliver said ball to the end zone, this three-year pro now with 10 total touchdowns in his career, also his 18.2 yards per catch this season are leading the league.
After an up and down start to his season, a miraculously healthy Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is now putting on an offensive show in Dallas that has his Cowboys as the winners of the NFC East and the fourth NFC seed in the postseason, his number one offense ready for blood.
Prescott worked hard to get his body healthy again after a season-ending leg injury took him down in 2020, an impressive comeback that comes with some equally inspiring numbers, this year having completed 410 passes for 4,449 yards and 37 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
How far the Cowboys go in the postseason will most likely depend on how well Prescott plays and connects with his talented group of targets including WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb and TEs Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, and RB Zeke Elliott is also a dependable receiver.
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|49ers vs Cowboys Information
|San Francisco 49ers vs Dallas Cowboys
|AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
|Sunday, January 16, 2022; 4:30 PM ET
|How to watch
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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