The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Divisional Round Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon game.

DallasRank@San FranciscoRank
3.5Spread-3.5
21.5Implied Total25
27.74Points/Gm27.35
19.85Points All./Gm16.71
65.76Plays/Gm61.721
65.629Opp. Plays/Gm60.55
5.514Off. Yards/Play63
5.18Def. Yards/Play54
47.84%8Rush%48.33%7
52.16%25Pass%51.67%26
43.10%16Opp. Rush %38.02%2
56.90%17Opp. Pass %61.98%31

Against the Spread

49ers: 12-6
Cowboys: 11-7

49ers ATS at Home: 8-2
Cowboys ATS Away: 5-4

49ers ATS as Favorite: 11-5
Cowboys ATS as Underdog: 3-2

Game Overview

One of the all-time great postseason rivalries gets another chapter. This will be the sixth time that the 49ers and Cowboys have played in the postseason and the second time in as many years. Both of these teams faced off in the Wild Card Round a year ago, with the 49ers coming out on top 23-17. 

This week features two of the hottest teams since the middle of the season.

The 49ers have won 11 games in a row with a point differential of +179 points. The next closest team to San Francisco in point differential over that same span is the Cowboys at +112 points. Then the next closest team after that over that period was +77 points (both the Bills and Eagles).

San Francisco has scored fewer than 21 points in just one of those 11 games with 30 or more points in eight of them. They have only faced two defenses over that span that were in the top 10 in defensive EPA per snap in the Saints (who they scored only 13 points against) and the Commanders (who they roasted for 37 points). Dallas is third in the NFL in EPA per snap, just behind this San Francisco defense. 

Dallas quickly erased a stale Week 18 performance against the Commanders by trampling the Bucs on Monday night. Since Dak Prescott returned in Week 7, Dallas is 9-3, trailing only the 49ers in points per drive (2.72) over that span. They led the league in touchdown rate per drive (34.8%), ranking second in red zone touchdown rate (80.4%) and first in third down conversion rate (52.4%) during that period. 

This will also be a test for Dallas as San Francisco is the best defense they have faced this season. The Cowboys do have a 40-point showing against the Eagles on their resume, but the only other top-10 defense they faced over that period was the Commanders, who they had their worst showing against over that same period (who the 49ers also steamrolled). 

This matchup also works both ways. The 49ers’ defense faced just two offenses in the top 10 in EPA per play at the time they played in the Chiefs and Dolphins. They had trouble stopping the Chiefs (44 points) but limited the Dolphins to 17 points in Week 13. San Francisco faced just one other team higher than the Cowboys in scoring rate per drive that was not the Chiefs. That was the Raiders, who scored 34 points. 

Needless to say, there is a ton of strength on strength here. These are the two best offenses in the league since the middle of the season while both defenses have solid resumes at the front of the league. The 49ers have allowed a league-low 1.46 points per drive while the Cowboys are third (1.62). San Francisco has allowed 27.8 yards per drive (fourth) while Dallas has allowed 28.6 yards per drive (eighth). 

The 49ers do have the added rest here playing on Saturday last week while the Cowboys played on Monday night. This will also be the fourth consecutive road game for Dallas and their fifth road game over the past six weeks. The 49ers were nearly in a similar spot a year ago, losing their fourth straight road game in the NFC Title game a year ago, which was their fifth road game over a six-week window.

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