NFC Divisional Playoffs
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Where to watch: FOX
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: 49ers -3.5
FanDuel: 49ers -3
BetMGM: 49ers -3.5
Caesars: 49ers -4
Cowboys: 13-5 (No. 5 Seed)
49ers: 14-4 (No. 2 seed)
Six games down and we’re on our way to the Divisional Round. What a wild card weekend that was. So many exciting games, games that came down to the final play. It was truly a fun way to kick off the weekend. And you know when the betting gets hot this time of year, you can trust our champion handicappers at bigal.com to get you through next week. How about Vegas Writer with a perfect 4-0-0 run last week in the NFL? AAA Sports came through at 4-1-0 and Jim Feist with a 5-2-0 mark dating back to the week prior. What’s going to happen this week with conference championship spots on the line? Make sure you’re tuned to bigal.com and our Best Bets page to see what our champion handicappers are bringing to the table!
Cowboys - 49ers preview, analysis and prediction
Cowboys: won 31-14 at Buccaneers (Monday night)
49ers: won 41-23 vs. Seahawks (Saturday)
It only seems like fate would have it that the Dallas Cowboys would face the San Francisco 49ers. There’s no other way this can end after last season ended the way that it did. The two teams will meet for a chance to go to the NFC Championship Game after winning their respective wild-card matchups this week.
I don’t exactly think the Cowboys should’ve advanced as easily as they did but, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14 in the wildcard round on Monday night for their first road playoff win since the 1992 NFC Championship … ironically enough against the 49ers. Irony is a funny thing, honestly.
One week after having the worst game of his NFL career, Dak Prescott rebounded for the greatest game in his NFL career, throwing for four touchdowns and running for one more in the win over Tom Brady and what might be the last game of his career. Likely not, but we’ll end up seeing whatever happens in that realm of the world at some point.
CeeDee Lamb caught his first playoff touchdown, and Dalton Schultz led the Cowboys with seven receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns to pace the offense. Micah Parsons had a sack, and Leighton Vander Esch led the way with nine tackles and two pass deflections when he was listed on the injury report for most of the week.
“It just shows he’s resilient,” Parsons said about his quarterback, who had gone seven straight weeks throwing an interception. “The light’s different on Dak. I think the criticism is unfair and unjust sometimes. But the way he handles it, the way he comes back every time and shows who he truly is, it’s a credit to the work he puts in. It makes us keep believing every time.”
Prescott was 25 of 33 for 305 yards and led the way for Dallas, who was 2.5-point favorites at the time of kickoff and easily covered. It’s only the second time in the last six games the Cowboys covered; they were 1-3-1 in the previous five.
“You watched this team that had all the reasons in the world to have criticism — you can call it doubt, you can call it whatever you want — and they came back and they’re not the same team that came to town,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “They’re a better team having beaten Tampa and beaten a great player at quarterback.”
On the other side of the field lies what’s arguably the most incredible story remaining of this postseason. The 49ers, winners of 11 straight with seventh-round pick Brock Purdy leading the way, are coming off a 41-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in their wild-card matchup in the 2-7 game.
In his playoff debut, “Mr. Irrelevant” threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for one more as the 49ers turned a 17-16 halftime deficit into a 25-6 second-half run. Christian McCaffrey ran for 119 yards on 15 carries, and Deebo Samuel made his official return to the lineup by reeling in 133 yards and a touchdown on six receptions, including a 74-yard score to ice the game in the fourth quarter.
“Once the game started, it was just 11 on 11, I have to do my job, get it to the guys in space and go from there,” Purdy said. “We didn’t make it more than what it was. ... It wasn’t, ‘Oh my gosh it’s the playoffs and we got to get all tense.’ We just have to play our game.”
The 49ers are understandably the favorites to get to the Super Bowl, all with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Their defense is an unreal unit that can play the run and pass with ease, and they have an offense that has not missed a beat since Jimmy Garappolo went down for the year.
Garappolo may not be the quarterback this time like he was last year when San Francisco knocked off the Cowboys in the wild-card round, but perhaps the quarterback this time around is better.
“I felt that way from the beginning once he got in that game against Miami,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We didn't have the luxury to sit there and worry about stuff the way the game was going. We just had to win the game and he's done a hell of a job. He’s done it every time since. I have a lot of confidence in him.”
The 49ers have gone 9-2 against the spread during this 11-game winning streak and there’s every reason to believe this can continue. But you know what? If there’s an offense that has proven many wrong before this year when they get going, it’s the Cowboys. They haven’t been to the NFC Championship in 28 years. If there’s a time, it’s now. Cowboys 31, 49ers 27
Cowboys are 24-12 ATS in all games the last 2 seasons.
Cowboys are 13-5 ATS on the road the last 2 seasons.
Cowboys are 6-0 ATS after allowing 300 or more passing yards in their last game the last 2 seasons.
49ers are 24-14 ATS in all games the last two seasons.
49ers are 11-2 ATS against conference opponents this season.
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