Karma is on Dallas Cowboys’ side in wild card vs. 49ers, and so should be the outcome

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Ron Jenkins/AP
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It’s just like old times for the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys.

A wild turn of events on the final day of the NFL’s regular season has the Cowboys hosting the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wild card game Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at AT&T Stadium.

And hopefully that’s a good omen for a franchise that is trying to end a 26-year drought and reach the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1995 season.

It will be the first postseason meeting for these one-time titans since three consecutive showdowns in the NFC title game following the 1992, 1993 and 1994 seasons. The Cowboys won the first two meetings and the 49ers won the third — and the winner of that contest also wound up becoming the Super Bowl champion.

No one is predicting that just yet for the winner of this matchup, but it should be a favorable one for the Cowboys.

Yes, the 49ers are a physical football team that can run the ball, as they lead the league in rushing with a stable of running backs led by the versatile Deebo Samuel, who is scary as they come as a runner and a receiver. And they are also well-suited to stopping the run as evidenced by San Francisco allowing 100 yards rushing just once in its last nine games.

But the 49ers are suspect in the secondary and quarterback Jimmy Garappolo has historically been a mistake waiting to happen. All indications are that rookie linebacker Micah Parsons will be back and ready to wreak havoc after missing the regular-season finale game with COVID-19.

The Cowboys have a decided advantage at the quarterback position with Dak Prescott coming off a season in which he capped his regular season with a personal best of five touchdown passes in Saturday’s 51-26 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. His 37 touchdown passes on the year is also a season-high for the franchise.

The key for the offense will be finding a way to block the 49ers pass rush and protect Prescott because receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Cedrick Wilson should be able to make plays against the 49ers’ secondary.

And a key secret weapon for the Cowboys could be the presence of Dan Quinn’s motivational talents as defensive coordinator, and his knowledge of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his tendencies on offense. Shanahan spent three seasons as offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons during Quinn’s time as head coach.

They reached the Super Bowl LI in February 2017, but it’s more of a troubling memory as the two were at the helm when they Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots, eventually losing in overtime, 34-28.

And then there is coach Mike McCarthy, who managed the Cowboys down the stretch to near perfection with four wins in December and a 5-1 mark over their final six games. The strategy to go all-in on the season finale allowed to Cowboys to shore up some issues that have been nagging the offense in recent weeks.

The victory enabled the Cowboys to move up from the fourth seed to the third seed after the Los Angels Rams and Arizona Cardinals were upset Sunday afternoon, setting up the throwback showdown against the 49ers at AT&T Stadium.

Karma is on the Cowboys’ side, and so should be the outcome.