Heading into Week 15, the Dallas Cowboys sport a 4-9 record and are hanging on by a thread in regards to making the 2020 postseason. Next up for the Boys are the reeling San Francisco 49ers, who come in with a 5-8 record and like the Cowboys sit in last place in their respective division.
The 49ers were bit with that same injury bug that crushed the Cowboys in this Covid-19 riddled season. Both teams are considered to be dead in the water when it comes to making a run this year but hope to build a little momentum heading into 2021.
As far as the Cowboys Wire staff goes, it seems like there are four writers in the race to be crowned this year’s Cowboys picks champion. This week could separate the men from the boys. A few struggling pickers will be trying to make that last run for the season. Much like the Cowboys.
Dave Sturchio (6-7) Cowboys 20 49ers 18
It doesn't look like I'm going to become the game picks champion in my first year with the Cowboys Wire. I've been picking with my heart rather than picking the game based off of the skill level of the Cowboys and their opponents. I think the 49ers are in a bad place after their loss to Washington. They couldn't really move the ball. Their defense still looks good as they really didn't let much of anything to develop in the Washington offensive attack. I'm not scared. Not of Nick Mullens. The Cowboys won a game last week and somehow found themselves moving back just one spot in the 2021 NFL Draft order. I understand there are those out there who are dreaming of a top 5 pick, but not me. In order for me to have confidence in Mike McCarthy in 2021, they have to finish strong. I think the Cowboys are more than capable of beating the 49ers and they will. Give me the home team 20-18.
KD Drummond (4-9) 49ers 34, Cowboys 17
Even with the myriad of injuries the 49ers have (the only team more ravaged than Dallas) on defense, they still have the scheme and talent to befuddle the Cowboys and their makeshift offensive line. It's going to be tough to score points, so Dallas is going to need a stellar effort from their defense and special teams to pull this one out. Exactly.
Ben Grimaldi (8-5) 49ers 26, Cowboys 16
Your Cowboys got flexed out of Sunday Night Football, that's not good. However, when you're 4-9 and are without one of the game's most dynamic players in QB Dak Prescott, it's hard to argue with the decision. Dallas has to win out to have any shot at the playoffs and that starts with beating the out of division rival 49ers. It's a bad matchup for this Cowboys defense. The thing San Francisco does best is run the ball and the Cowboys have just a little bit of a problem stopping it. Actually, the Cowboys have a tremendous amount of trouble stopping the rushing game. Expect Kyle Shanahan to pound Dallas' defense into submission and it will probably leave Cowboys Nation down the embarrassment tunnel once again. The Cowboys won't have enough offense to pick on a 49ers defense that hasn't been near what they were last season. Bye-bye playoff hopes as the 49ers put the Cowboys out of their misery in 2020.
Todd Brock (9-4): 49ers 30, Cowboys 25
If there’s anyone whose 2020 took a worse turn that Dallas’s, it may be San Francisco’s. Their roster has been wiped out by injury, putting nearly every one of the superstar players on the shelf. Not bad enough? They got their home stadium taken away from them with the final third of the season left to play! Throw in the ignominy of being bumped from the national Sunday night slate (for the Giants and Browns, no less), and there’s loads of pent-up us-against-the-world fodder for the pregame hype speeches for both sides. But this could boil down to a slugfest between the run games. The Ezekiel Elliott panic alarms are now sounding full blast; he seems to want to wait for his line to open up big gaping holes for him to safely jog through, and the O-line seems… um… incapable of doing that. On the other side, Raheem Mostert is averaging five yards per carry, and the Cowboys are allowing more rushing yards per game than anybody. Dallas will have to wait a while longer to notch their first back-to-back wins since early November 2019.
Asa Henry (7-6) San Francisco 24, Dallas 17
There's not much to say about this matchup that my colleagues have not already hit on the head. Injuries have destroyed these once hopeful teams, but the 49ers have remained a tougher out because of their ability to defend or run the ball no matter who's available to play. I think this game is more of the same. The Kyle Shanahan zone running scheme should gash the Cowboys undisciplined and undermanned defense, and I think the 49er's defense can get the needed stops on Andy Dalton and company Dallas keeps it close, but their inability to stop the run bites them again. San Francisco 24, Dallas 17
Dan Morse (9-4) Cowboys 20, 49ers 28
Another battle of the backup quarterbacks this week with Nick Mullens vs Andy Dalton, but that's not going to be the deciding factor in this one. This game is going to hinge on the run game of the San Francisco 49ers. Dallas is coming off of their best rushing defensive performance of the season. But it was largely built on 3 fumble recoveries, which are very volatile and unpredictive, and it came against the Bengals, not known to be a good rushing team. The 49ers are a completely different animal. Kyle Shanahan knows how to get a run game going regardless of who is receiving the handoff. Raheem Mostert may not be available, but Shanahan will certainly be willing to feed Jerrick Mckinnon and Tevin Coleman, who will in all likelihood feast upon a Dallas defense that ranks 29th in the league in EPA/rush allowed. San Fran will take this one with Nick Mullens not even eclipsing 15 pass attempts.
Zeke Barrera (6-7) San Francisco 27 - Cowboys 17
Mike McCarthy may still have the confidence of Jerry and Stephen Jones, but in Week 15 they'll get an up close and personal look at what the league's premier offensive playcaller can really do for team. Injuries have similarly ravaged the 49ers, but unlike Dallas, they've been a much more formidable threat despite also being 1-5 in their last six games. The Cowboys definitely can win this game, but even a San Francisco team operating at half their potential will be too much for them this week. When two teams at a similar talent level meet, usually coaching is the difference maker. McCarthy has shown practically nothing to this point to make it seem like he'll have the advantage over Kyle Shanahan. Expect Mullens and the Niners to run out to a big lead and Dallas to catch up and make it seem close late.
Julius Settles (8-5) Cowboys 27, 49ers 21
As the Cowboys look to put together their first win streak of the season, it’s about stopping the run and trying to force a turnover or two to give the offense some short fields to work with. With Andy Dalton at quarterback this team isn’t equipped to drive the length of the field consistently so some short fields should present this offense with opportunities to score touchdowns. I believe the Cowboys win this game, and I think the running backs have a lot to do with it. Zeke will go over a hundred yards with a score while Tony Pollard creates another big play on special teams with a kick return touchdown.