Dallas Cowboys VS San Francisco 49ers matchup preview

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Dak Prescott
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Dak Prescott /

The Dallas Cowboys will take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 of the regular season. As they reheat their old rivalry here are some matchups to watch.

The Dallas Cowboys will head to Santa Clara, California to take on an old rival in the San Francisco 49ers. This will be a big game for both teams as the 49ers try to get their first win of the season while Dallas attempts to get back to .500. Here are some key factors that should have a big impact in this contest.

Ezekiel Elliott against the San Francisco 49ers run defense: The Dallas Cowboys will have their best weapon on the field on Sunday and he could hold the keys to success in this contest. The 49ers gave up 97 rushing yards to the worst running team in the league (Seattle Seahawks) and let elite backs run all over them.

Opposing running backs are averaging 3.62 yards per carry so there will be yards to gain on the ground on Sunday. The Niners have been pretty good at keeping opposing running backs out of the end zone as they have only allowed three rushing touchdowns on the season, however, the best back they have faced (Todd Gurley) still put up two touchdowns against them.

San Francisco’s best performance against the run came in Week Six as they held the Washington Redskins running backs to 58 yards on 27 carries. Zeke is averaging 3.7 yards per carry so that fits pretty well with the idea that he will be able to have a very productive game on Sunday.

It does seem odd that Elliott only has two touchdowns on the season, but I would expect that to double in this contest.

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Dak Prescott versus the 49ers secondary: The 49ers have allowed over 300 yards to the last three quarterbacks they have faced and among the worst at containing QB’s over the course of the 2017 season. It will be difficult for San Francisco to get a pass rush going in a game that Dallas absolutely has to win.

The Dallas Cowboys have a very tough schedule this season and this is one of the better matchups they will have all year long. Dak has around 36 passing attempts in over his last two contests and that seems like the correct balance as he has also over 250 yards and three touchdowns as well.

That streak should continue but who will receive those targets is anyone’s guess. Dez Bryant has been consistent in the sense that he is good for a big play once a game. They gameplan may go away from throwing the ball a ton if the Cowboys have success on the ground but it would not be surprising to see Prescott take the ball into the end zone himself.

Jason Witten and Bryant should lead the Cowboys in targets but it also does feel like a big week for Brice Butler. He has converted most of his targets and has been a big play waiting to happen this season.

The inclusion of Cole Beasley into the Cowboys passing attack after recording his first two touchdowns of the season just further muddles the situation. But that should work in the Cowboys favor as the 49ers defense is going to have a tough time defending all of Dallas’s weapons.

Prescott is in good shape to be one of the top quarterbacks of the week as he will look to lead the Cowboys to a win on Sunday.

A rookie quarterback facing Demarcus Lawrence: C.J. Beathard is somewhat of a wild card in this matchup. We do not know enough about Beathard to really make an accurate assumption as to what he is capable of.

He had a quarterback rating of 72.1 and threw for 245 yards. He also added an interception and a touchdown for good measure. The Cowboys best pass rusher is Demarcus Lawrence and he is finally coming into his own.

He has averaged a little more than a sack per game and is the most disruptive force on the field for Dallas. If he can get to Beathard there is not telling how the rookie will handle it.

The idea for the defense this week would be to get as much pressure as possible on the rookie so he is forced into making bad decisions. With star linebacker, Sean Lee on the field the 49ers will have a much more difficult time running the football and that should help set up the pass rush.

The Dallas Cowboys defense is similar to a classic car, you need the right pieces to get it to work, they are hard to find, and have a propensity to break down. If everyone is healthy, it is poetry in motion, and that is what we should see on Sunday.

The Cowboys led the league in defense against opposing running backs in 2016, they could have similar success now that this defense is beginning to gel/get healthy. Lawrence will play a huge role in all of this and should continue his streak of terrorizing quarterbacks on Sunday. 

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Outcome: Considering that Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee will be on the field, it is going to be really tough for the 49ers to win on Sunday. They are better than their record indicates, I mean they put up 39 points on the Los Angeles Rams and 31 on the Minnesota Vikings.

Carlos Hyde is a talented back that could cause some problems but he is not elite so I would not expect a Todd Gurley like afternoon for him. The Cowboys should be able to outscore the 49ers and with a rookie quarterback starting that may not be too hard.

The Cowboys should put up around 30 points but the 49ers should be in the game for most of the afternoon. This is a well-coached team that just has not had the luck of the draw yet and in 2018 they could be a solid option to make the playoffs in the NFC West but I just do not see them having the firepower to put away Dallas as the Cowboys will need a win wherever they can get one to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles.