Looking Ahead

T.O.'s 213 yards against the 49ers in 2008 was his second-highest total ever.

WHAT: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers *
WHEN: *Sunday, Sept. 18, 3:05 p.m. (CT)

WHERE: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.
SERIES: 49ers lead series, 16-15-1

Match-Up Worth Watching:
Defending Vernon Davis. Inconsistent early in his career, Davis has become one of the league's most dynamic tight ends, and the highest-paid at his position. Davis has scored 20 touchdowns over the past two seasons, and he averaged 16.3 yards per catch in 2010. He's trouble for linebackers and safeties, and the Cowboys' coverage problems last season are well documented.

49ers' Draft Review:
San Francisco had 10 total selections, including Missouri pass rusher Aldon Smith at No. 7 overall. Smith will transition to outside linebacker in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme, which tied for 14th in sacks last year (36). Kaepernick might not be ready to start by Week 2, but the 49ers clearly view him as their future starting quarterback. His arm strength and mobility made him a coveted Round 2 selection. Fourth-round running back Kendall Hunter might be tiny, but he made a big impression at the Senior Bowl and could eventually settle in as Frank Gore's backup.

Last Meeting:
In 2008, the Cowboys won easily, 35-22, at Texas Stadium thanks to a prominent former Niner. Terrell Owens, who vented about his lack of involvement in Garrett's offense during an NFL Network interview earlier that week, exploded for seven catches, 213 yards and a touchdown - easily his most productive game of the season and the second-highest yardage total of his career (283 yards vs. Chicago, 2000). It marked only the seventh 200-yard receiving game in team history. In his second game back from a fractured right finger, Romo completed 23 of 39 passes for a season-high 341 yards and three touchdowns. The defense held San Francisco to 150 total yards after the first quarter, and Dallas scored 14 points off a blocked-punt-turned-safety and four Nick Folk field goals.

One To Remember:
So many to choose from. Although the 49ers would win the third of three straight NFC title games in 1994, the Cowboys' 1992 conference championship signaled a changing of the guard. The Cowboys upset the elder, more accomplished 49ers, 30-20, to reach their first Super Bowl since 1978 - the start of three titles in four years. Troy Aikman led the way with 322 passing yards and two touchdowns, and Emmitt Smith added 114 rushing yards and a touchdown at Candlestick Park.

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