Troy Aikman. Joe Montana. Emmitt Smith. Steve Young. Michael Irvin. Jerry Rice. Charles Haley. Deion Sanders. Ronnie Lott. Larry Allen. George Seifert. Jimmy Johnson. It’s the Cowboys and 49ers, Sunday on CBS.
Whoops. Sorry, we got caught back in the 1990s for a second. This Sunday, in the year 2022, we’ll see Dak Prescott and Deebo Samuel, CeeDee Lamb and George Kittle, Amari Cooper and Trent Williams, Tyron Smith and Alex Mack, Fred Warner and Micah Parsons, Nick Bosa and Demarcus Lawrence, Dre Greenlaw and Randy Gregory, Jimmie Ward and Trevon Diggs, Mike McCarthy and Kyle Shanahan, and a whole lot more.
This should be fun. Let’s break down the matchup.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 16 | Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
TV: CBS/Nickelodeon | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Cowboys -3, O/U 51
When the 49ers have the ball
This side of the ball features a fascinating matchup of strengths and weaknesses. The 49ers want to run the ball and hit teams with big gains via the play-action pass. The Cowboys want to destroy your offensive line with their devastating pass rush, forcing your quarterback to rush his throws and get picked off by Trevon Diggs or whoever else jumps the passing lane.
The Dallas defense was not as effective against the run as it was against the pass this season, checking in 16th in rush defense DVOA at Football Outsiders compared with second in pass defense. The Cowboys also did not face very many run games reminiscent of the 49ers. The only team whose offense was all that similar in style, among Dallas opponents, was the Minnesota Vikings. Dallas actually did quite well in that matchup, but it’s a pretty small sample.
According to Tru Media, for example, the Cowboys faced the eighth-fewest misdirecting rushing attempts in the NFL this season. San Francisco, meanwhile, was second in misdirection…