The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 15 matchup between the 49ers and Cowboys.
Rob Phillips: Both teams are missing a ton of key players and it's affecting the way they want to play. Both teams also have a slim margin for error. To me it comes down to turnovers. Last week the Cowboys avoided turnovers for the first time since the opener, and the defense's three takeaways were their second most this year. The 49ers have turned it over at least twice in seven straight games. I'll take Dallas on the chance that trend continues Sunday. But there's no question the 49ers' run game system presents a challenge, and the game will turn if the Cowboys leak too many big plays there.
David Helman: Lo and behold, another game that I have no idea how to pick because I don't trust the inconsistent teams that are playing in it. The Cowboys have the better quarterback and the better skill players. But the 49ers have a scary rushing attack, a creative coaching staff – and they're going against the worst defense in the NFL. Nick Mullens shouldn't be good enough to go on the road and beat the Cowboys, but I am fairly concerned about the fact that Raheem Mostert will be available – and Kyle Shanahan will have a plan for how to attack the Cowboys' run defense. To me, that's going to be the difference. I expect another nice day from Andy Dalton, but I don't trust the Cowboys to play another clean game with no turnovers. Combine the negative turnover differential with a 49ers rushing attack that will find ways to be productive, and I'm thinking San Francisco finds a way to slip out of here with a 24-20 win.
Nick Eatman: Much has been made of the fact this game has been flexed down to Noon. But all you have to do is look at the IR lists for both teams. There are a combined seven Pro Bowlers on the list and over 25 appearances between them – all out of the game. Without a doubt, these teams have been gutted and their records are a reflection. Still, I have no doubt at all the Cowboys-49ers game would receive much higher ratings than Browns-Giants on Sunday night, but it seems like the NFL wants a game that has some playoff implications – at least for one team. To this game, I think it'll be a very close game. I don't have a lot of faith in Nick Mullens guiding the 49ers up and down the field, but we've seen quarterbacks that aren't as good beat this team. I just don't think the Cowboys have shown enough consistency to prove they can win two games in a row. The fact Zeke hasn't practiced all week makes me think he might not play or will be extremely limited. I'll take the 49ers in a close one, 27-24.
Kyle Youmans Following the first three wins the Cowboys have been able to enjoy, they have been outscored 117-57 in the following week. But after the win in Cincinnati, I do not believe that will be the case again. There are a lot of reinforcements coming this week in the secondary which really makes me optimistic, even with the threat of no Ezekiel Elliott on the table. San Francisco's run defense doesn't scare me as much as it would have in 2019 and, in return, the Cowboys should be able to run the ball efficiently against their run defense. Give me the Cowboys to win their sixth matchup in seven games against the 49ers with a 33-20 final score.
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