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49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory vs. Cowboys

Oct 8, 2023 at 7:00 AM

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It's Week 5 in the NFL, and the San Francisco 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys. This game will be San Francisco's most formidable challenge thus far, but the 49ers are well-equipped to take on America's Team. They must perform these keys to victory if they want to improve to 5-0.

Make the Cowboys One-Dimensional

The 49ers want to take away the run game led by Tony Pollard. Pollard has rushed for 377 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. The 49ers have the number three ranked run defense in the NFL, allowing 66 rushing yards per game, and taking away the run forces quarterback Dak Prescott to play one-dimensionally.

Expect Prescott to start the game accurately using quick throws. He gets the ball out of his hand in 2.2 seconds, one of the fastest releases in the NFL. The more the 49ers force Prescott to throw, the more chance of mistakes.

Generate Pressure

The 49ers must continue to find ways to create pressure on the quarterback. Nick Bosa leads the NFL in double teams with 33% at the defensive end position. Javon Hargrave is ranked second in pass rush win rate amongst defensive tackles. He has also been double-teamed 57% of the time. Expect the Cowboys' offensive line to remove these two powerhouse defensive players.

The 49ers have to find ways to generate pressure in other ways. The Cowboys' offensive line has only given up 29 pressures on the season, with two resulting in sacks. Getting to Prescott won't be easy, so expect timely blitzes from the linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties. These pressures will force Prescott to make mistakes, and the 49ers can generate turnovers.


There's an old cliche that says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL in rushing, so expect him to lead the 49ers in rushing against the Cowboys. Dallas allows 111.8 rushing yards per game, ranking 17th in the NFL. The 49ers are ranked third in the NFL in rushing with 661 yards, averaging 153 yards per game. McCaffrey leads the NFL with 459 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, and has six rushing touchdowns.

Attack the Linebackers

Expect the Dallas Cowboys linebackers to try and set the tone by stopping the run. The 49ers should look for mismatches in the Cowboys' pass coverage. Look for the 49ers to attack Markquese Bell and Leighton Vander Esch. These two have been targeted 13 times, giving up seven receptions for 65 yards. The 49ers could utilize McCaffrey in the passing game, forcing the Cowboys to cover the running backs. Since Dallas likes to run man coverage, expect 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan to exploit their weakness.

Don't Turn the Ball Over

The Cowboys have scored 21 points on turnovers this season. The 49ers cannot turn over the ball, giving away points to the Cowboys. Quarterback Brock Purdy has zero interceptions this season, and the Niners continue to play some of the most brilliant football in the league. Win the turnover battle, win the game.

In Conclusion

Both teams have a tall task at hand. Both teams have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, this game will come down to the intangibles. If the 49ers want to be 5-0, they should focus on these keys to victory.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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