The last game of the divisional round in the playoffs will feature the Dallas Cowboys, fresh off their fourth playoff victory in the last 25 years, heading to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. We’ll break down the game before going over my bet on the spread, and my favorite prop bet as well.
Every time questions start to float about whether a moment is too big for Brock Purdy, he turns around and proves that he can handle anything thrown his way. After a shaky first half against the Seahawks last weekend, the young quarterback responded with three touchdowns in the second half to finish the game with 332 passing yards and four total touchdowns.
The biggest positive for Purdy is that his teammates and head coach are doing everything they can to take pressure off of him. Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel displayed the many ways this 49ers team can beat you on offense, with McCaffrey rushing for 119 yards and Samuel going over 133 receiving yards and a touchdown.
San Francisco’s defense also spent the entire second half of the Wild Card game showing why they were 1st in points allowed and 2nd in yards allowed this season. The 49ers' defense held the Seahawks to just six second-half points in the half and forced two turnovers, which has almost come to be expected by them at this point. The strength of their defense that will likely play this biggest role this weekend is their ability to stop the run.
The Cowboys finished the regular season with the 8th-highest run-play percentage in the league, and despite not needing to rely on it as much last weekend, they still finished the game with 128 rush yards. Dallas didn’t need to rely on Elliott and Pollard as much out of the backfield since Dak Prescott was on another level the whole game finishing with 305 yards and four touchdowns.
Dallas’ defense played at a high-level last weekend as well, as they didn’t allow any points to be scored in the first half and came up with an interception while forcing two fumbles they could not recover.
San Francisco can currently be found as -4 point favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play on the spread. The 49ers have covered the spread in their last five divisional playoff games and are 12-2 ATS in their previous 14 home games.
Dallas may be riding high defensively after last weekend, but they faced the worst rushing offense in the NFL, and they will now face a 49ers offense that was 7th in rushing yards per game and 5th in rushing touchdowns per game. I think San Francisco’s plethora of offensive weapons will prove to be too much for the Cowboys' defense.
The 49ers' defense also poses a much more significant threat this weekend, as the Cowboys will not just be able to rely on Dak Prescott the entire game. Dallas will have a hard time establishing a run game against the San Francisco defense that was second in rushing yards allowed per game and held opponents to an average of just 3.4 yards per carry.
My favorite prop pick for the game revolves around Christian McCaffrey and the fact that the Cowboys' defense will not be prepared for this level of rushing attack after the first round. I’ll be taking McCaffrey to go over his rushing yard total, which is currently 65.5 at (-115).
The 49ers running back averaged 73.3 rush yards over his last ten games, and in that span, he received 14 or more attempts in six of those games, including last weekend. I expect Shanahan to use McCaffrey often to make things easier on Brock Purdy and to take advantage of a Cowboys defense that allowed the 10th most rushing yards in the NFL this season.
San Francisco 49ers (-4)
Christian McCaffrey Over 65.5 rushing yards (-115)