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Sam Robinson

Football handicapper

San Francisco 49ers (10-7) @ Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

WHERE: AT&T Stadium

WHEN: Jan 16, 4:30pm ET

SPREAD: Cowboys -3 | O/U 51

The Dallas Cowboys host the San Francisco 49ers in what should be a hard-hitting NFC Wild Card game. The 49ers come off a massive win over the Los Angeles Rams that got them into the playoffs, while Dallas boosted their confidence while scoring 51 against the Eagles. Both teams really want to impose their will on both sides of the ball. The 49ers defense ranks seventh against the run and fifth in sacks with 2.8 per game. Dallas rank 13th with 2.4 sacks per game.

Dallas has been flying high most of the season, boasting the No.1 scoring offense at 31.2 PPG (points per game). Dallas are winners in five of their last six games, although most of those wins came against unimpressive opposition. Beating Washington twice, a banged-up Saints team, an awful Giants team, and against the Eagles who sat key players. Now they face a far sterner test in the 49ers – a team full of confidence, winning seven of their last nine games. Unlike Dallas, San Francisco beat some really good teams to get here. Getting three wins against playoff teams, two against the Rams and beating the Bengals once.

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As I mentioned, I expect this to be a hard-hitting, tough football game. Both teams really want to impose their will at the line of scrimmage. San Francisco isn’t going to let Dak Prescott and this offense air the ball out and beat them deep all night, as they know their offense can’t keep up. This 49ers defense is in your face and hits you every play, something that’s really shown in the last three weeks as they have only given up 17 PPG. Because of that I expect them to cause some issues for Dallas. The Cowboys have also been good defensively this year, giving up 21.1 PPG, good for seventh best in the NFL.

We have two top 10 rushing offenses facing off, Dallas rank ninth with 124.6 rushing yards per game, while the 49ers rank seventh with 127.4. Combine that with how tough these defenses are playing - I really like the under here. The Cowboys run the ball an average of 27.8 times per game, that’s good for the 12th most in the league, here at home that number increases slightly to 29 per game. Meanwhile, the 49ers run the ball an average of 29.4 times per game, good for fifth most in the NFL. All of which leads me to think the clock will be running most of the game. The 49ers will try to force the Cowboys to run the ball while limiting the big plays from the Dallas receivers. Take the under 51 total points as the 49ers have only seen 51 or more points in six games all year.

Playoff pick: Under 51 Points

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