Cowboys Offense vs. 49ers Defense:
When the Cowboys have the ball, obviously you have to establish the run with Marion Barber. That's every game. But this will be a good week to get the Big Three going in the passing game. And by the Big Three, I mean Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Roy Williams. With Miles Austin out, T.O. and Roy have to have big games, but also Witten, too. The 49ers don't have a lot of superstars, especially on defense. But if you want to move the ball, one guy you have to block is linebacker Patrick Willis. He's all over the place. He has to be blocked. He is their best player on defense. Wherever he is, get him blocked.
49ers Offense vs. Cowboys Defense:
You have to stop Frank Gore for sure. This week, it's about Zach Thomas and Bradie James vs. Frank Gore . . . you have to tackle. Gore is the 49ers' leading rusher and leading receiver. In fact, if he finishes the season as the leading receiver, it will be the first time in 49ers history that a running back has led the team in rushing and receiving. So you have to get after him, have to stop him. That's their offense. You have to put the pressure on 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill. He's a young, inexperienced guy. The only way to put pressure on him is to stop Frank Gore and force Shaun Hill to beat you.
The Cowboys Win If . . .
They score 25 points. They're nearly perfect - in the last two years they've only lost one game when they scored more than 25 and that was to New England. San Francisco can score points. But I think it's important for the Cowboys to get over that 25-point mark this week.
The 49ers Win If . . .
If the Cowboys turn the ball over, they don't stop Allen Rossum on special teams and the defense doesn't stop Frank Gore, the Cowboys lose. If they don't stop Gore and the running game, it'll be a long day. If he gets more than 130 rushing yards, that means the 49ers will be controlling the ball and the clock and it will be hard for the Cowboys to win this game.
I think the Cowboys win this game, 28-14. I think they're just a better team. Even if they do overlook the 49ers this week a little bit, the only way the Cowboys lose is if they beat themselves.
Larry's Favorite 49ers Memory:
I think back to the 1993 NFC Championship Game. Jimmy Johnson called in the radio show the night before the game and said we would win the game and to predict it in three-inch headlines. I remember he walked into the locker room at Texas Stadium before the game and usually he has a pre-game speech. But on this day, he walked in, looked at everyone and said, "Let's go." And we went out there and destroyed the 49ers and went to the Super Bowl. We were all waiting for this speech and anticipating what he was going to say and address the team about calling into the radio show. We all knew about it. So there was this untold anxiety. We're thinking he would walk in and say something about meaning what he said and explaining it. I think he said a lot by not saying anything. To me, he insinuated that "I've said all I'm going to say, and let's go." But I've never seen a locker room so fired up.