Dallas Cowboys will win if they force the 49ers to do this…

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoffs and the first-round opponent is a long-time playoff rival, the San Francisco 49ers. Long gone are the days of Ronnie Lott, Emmitt Smith, Steve Young, and Troy Aikman. While we will be reminded of “The Catch”, we will also be reminded of the wins that led to the Dallas 90s dynasty team.

Both teams look a lot different these days, and this time the Cowboys want the 49ers to pass.

The Dallas Cowboys defense is excellent at creating turnovers off of interceptions. They lead the league with 26 interceptions with many of them coming from Trevon Diggs. Where the Cowboys are in the middle of the league is creating fumbles, and this matchup offers some difficulty early on.

If the Cowboys can slow down the 49ers’ rushing attack, maybe create a turnover or two, and get up early, it will force the 49ers to rely on the shaky Jimmy Garoppolo. To win, force the 49ers to play from behind and force mistakes.

The Dallas Cowboys need the 49ers to be forced into a one-dimensional team.

The 49ers were ranked thirteenth in points per game with 25.1 for the season. Over the last three games, the 49ers eighteenth in points per game. Much of their offense is reliant on the running game as Jimmy Garoppolo was twentieth in passing attempts, twelfth in yards per game, and seventeenth in passing touchdowns.

The 49ers as a whole were twenty-ninth in pass percentage, only passing on 52.29% of the time. The 49ers have won with a really good run game and a solid defense. They’ve won in spite of their pass game.

The Cowboys need to come out firing on all cylinders. One thing the 49ers can not do is keep up with the Cowboys if the offense is firing. It will start with how the 49ers play at the line on defense.

Much like Arizona, the 49ers will probably try to show blitzes and then back out into coverage. The upside is the secondary of the 49ers is susceptible and if the Cowboys can keep the defense guessing and break some efficient runs, the game will get out of hand quickly for the 49ers.

Should the offense roll, the defense will need to focus on the running attack of the 49ers and force long third downs, which should start some of the issues for the passing attack of San Francisco. Once the Cowboys are able to get up two to three scores, the defense can focus on making plays against Garoppolo, who will throw up some questionable balls and try to do more than his talent allows.

This could be a game where the Cowboys allow Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch to shoot gaps and try to contain the running game. Parsons should be able to help shut the edge down, and as long as gaps are held up front, LVE should be able to help inside. Bringing safety help down is big, especially with Keanu Neal being potentially out, and a thin linebacking corps behind them.

The Cowboys should be favorites in this game, and as long as they can stop the rushing attack, and make some plays on offense, the game should be “over” early. However, if the 49ers can control the clock, keep the game close, and avoid passing, it will be a close game with a lot of stress.

But, the Cowboys are back in the playoffs and now have to take it one game at a time and turn it on for the playoffs. It starts with slowing down a lethal rushing attack and forcing their opponent to be uncomfortable and throw more than they would like.

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Make Jimmy G try to beat you and he usually beats himself.