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49ers at Cowboys: 4 bold predictions for NFL Playoff game

The San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys will do battle in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs at 4:30 PM ET on Sunday in what will be a renewal of their rivalry.

Dallas finished the regular season with a 12-5 record and breezed its way through the NFC East with a 6-0 record. It took an overtime win from San Francisco in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Rams to punch the team’s tickets to the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys game information, point spread and more

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, January 174:30 PM Paramount +, Prime Video, CBS
  • 49ers at Cowboys point spread: Cowboys -3.0
  • Over/under: 51.0
  • Moneyline: 49ers +140; Cowboys -160

Below we give you four bold predictions for what promises to be an epic NFC Wild Card matchup between the 49ers and Cowboys at AT&T Stadium this weekend.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

CeeDee Lamb will go off for over 200 yards for the Dallas Cowboys

49ers at cowboys bold predictions: cee dee lamb
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no question that San Francisco’s biggest Achilles’ heel is at cornerback. The team opened this season relying on an injury-plagued Jason Verrett to be its No. 1 guy. He was lost for the season after suffering another injury in Week 1.

The results have been disastrous with San Francisco being forced to rely on veterans such as Josh Norman. While rookie Ambry Thomas clinched a playoff spot with his interception of Matthew Stafford in Week 18, this has to be of utmost concern for first-year 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Just look at what top receivers have done against San Francisco’s defense over the past few weeks.

  • Week 18: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (7 catches, 118 yards, 1 TD)
  • Week 17: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (7 receptions, 66 yards, 1 TD)
  • Week 16: A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (11 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD)

As for Lamb, he’s only been targeted a combined 11 times over the past three games. That came after the former Oklahoma standout was targeted 32 times in the three games before.

With San Francisco potentially turning its focus on Amari Cooper in this one, we wouldn’t be shocked if Dak Prescott went in Lamb’s direction a whole heck of a lot. It will lead to an absolutely huge day for the stud young pass-catcher.

Related: Ranking NFL defenses heading into the playoffs

Nick Bosa will record at least two sacks

49ers at cowboys bold predictions: nick bosa
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

This former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year finished the regular season with 32 quarterback hits, a league-high 21 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. If it weren’t for the performance of T.J. Watt in Pittsburgh, he’d be a top Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

The issue for a Dallas offensive line that allowed a mere 33 sacks during the regular season is the fact that it will have a hard time honing in on just Bosa with double and triple teams. Connor Williams struggled big time inside at guard. La’el Collins is a good right tackle, but had his pass-protection issues. Meanwhile, the 49ers have other options to get after Prescott.

In addition to Bosa’s 71 pressures, other defensive linemen got to the quarterback big time. That included Arik Armstead (38 hurries), Samson Ebukam (32 pressures) and Arden Key (17 QB hits, 6.5 sacks). Look for Bosa to see some single-blocking assignments coming his way, leading to multiple sacks for a Cowboys offense that will rely on its passing game.

Related: Bold predictions for NFL Super Wild Card Weekend

Ezekiel Elliott held to under 50 rushing yards

49ers at cowboys bold predictions: ezekiel elliott
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s somewhat shocking to see Zeke’s splits for the 2021 season. It took until Week 18 for the three-time Pro Bowler to even reach the 1,000-yard plateau. Elliott also put up less than 50 rushing yards in eight of his 17 regular-season outings. Sure he had Tony Pollard sharing the load and has proved capable in the passing game, but that’s eye-opening for a high-priced back.

On the other hand, San Francisco’s defense finished up its 17-game slate ranked No. 7 against the run while yielding 4.0 yards per attempt. However, that doesn’t do Ryan’s defense justice. Over the final five games of the regular season, the 49ers yielded an average of 78 rushing yards per outing. With Prescott looking to beat the 49ers’ questionable secondary, we’re not expecting Elliott to play much of a role in the rushing game.

Related: NFL picks against the spread, wild card edition

Deebo Samuel dominates Trevon Diggs

49ers at cowboys bold predictions: deebo samuel
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is what we’d call an interesting matchup. A second-year player out of Alabama, Diggs recorded an absurd 11 interceptions during the regular season. He’s a top NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate and an elite all-around ball-hawk.

With that said, there’s every reason to believe that Diggs will get beat multiple times while lining up in coverage against Deebo Samuel come Sunday afternoon. In addition to the 11 interceptions, Diggs allowed the most receiving yards (962) among NFL cornerbacks during the regular season. It’s boom or bust.

While it wouldn’t be a surprise if Diggs intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday, Samuel should eat against the young corner. The 49ers’ top offensive weapon was simply insane in the 16 games he suited up in during the regular season. Here’s a dude who caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards while leading the league at 18.2 yards per reception. All said, Samuel accumulated 1,770 total yards on 136 touches.

49ers at Cowboys final score prediction: 49ers 31, Cowboys 28

There’s a reason this game boasts the smallest point spread of the six set to take place during Wild Card weekend.

It’s safe to say no one wants to play the 49ers right now following their second-half performance against the Rams in Los Angeles last week.

They are also a very difficult matchup for Dallas given the performance we’ve seen from San Francisco’s defense and its skill-position players on the other side of the ball.

Look for the 49ers to pull off a small road upset and likely set up a divisional round matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.