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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McCarthy on 49ers-Cowboys: “You dream to play in these kind of games”

Oct 3, 2023 at 4:36 PM--

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Kyle Shanahan knows that the Week 5 face-off between his San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys could be his team's toughest challenge yet of the 2023 season. The head coach holds immense respect for the Cowboys' defense, a unit that plays with speed up front.

"Just how their pass rush [is], how fast they play," Shanahan said this week when asked about the unique challenge Sunday's game poses. "I mean, [defensive coordinator] Dan Quinn is as good as anyone at the D-line."

The 49ers are responsible for knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs in each of the past two postseasons. Dallas is eager for a shot at redemption against their one-time bitter rival.

"It's an important game. You understand the history," McCarthy said Monday, per Tom Dierberger of NBC Sports Bay Area. "There's obviously a lot of tradition with this game. That's all part of it. You live to play in these kind of games. You dream to play in these kind of games.

"You don't want to make it bigger than it is, but the reality is it's just not another game."

The current rivalry has certainly been one-sided over the past couple of years, favoring the 49ers. That's something the Cowboys hope to remedy on Sunday. This marks the 40th meeting between the two teams, with the all-time record deadlocked at 19-19-1.

The 49ers and Cowboys are considered top contenders in the NFC, with most viewing the former as owning one of the best rosters in the league. The showdown at Levi's Stadium on Sunday night could be pivotal in determining which team has a better chance of representing the conference in Super Bowl 58.

The fact that 49ers-Cowboys is a prime-time matchup only intensifies the spotlight on the game.

"These are kind of the games you live for and you enjoy," Shanahan admitted. "But it's a whole week to get there; big preparation. It's still going to be the same type of game as always, just starts a little bit later. It's still just going to be as long, but I know people will be amped up.

"I love it when the rest of the league gets to watch you when it's on national TV. It's great for all the fans and stuff, but it's really cool that, usually, the players and coaches are home by the end of the day, and they get to see that game, too. I know that's what we enjoy the most."

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