49ers vs. Cowboys: Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 Wild Card Game
Deebo Samuel has done a bit of everything in the San Francisco 49ers offense this season.
The third-year wide receiver produced 15 touchdowns in the regular season for Kyle Shanahan's side. He ran for eight scores, caught six touchdowns and he threw for one in Week 18.
Samuel should be the first player the Dallas Cowboys defenders locate before every snap during Sunday's NFC wild-card clash.
The 49ers should lean on a heavy volume of Samuel to counter the production of Dallas' two defensive stars; Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs.
San Francisco will try to enforce its will on Dallas' defense by using a heavy dose of Samuel and its terrific rushing attack.
Dallas either needs to respond to the potential success on the ground with the offensive stars of its own, or shut down that unit so that Dak Prescott can take control of the contest.
Prescott should throw at a decent volume regardless of the circumstances because he has the deeper set of passing-game options. That could be the difference-maker on Sunday if the Cowboys defense comes up with a few stops.
Spread: Dallas (-3)
Money Line: Dallas (-165; bet $165 to win $100); San Francisco (+145; bet $100 to win $145).
The Dallas-San Francisco clash is the only wild-card matchup that is not a rematch from the regular season.
Dallas was the best NFL team against the spread with a 13-4 record. The Cowboys were 10-3 as a favorite, and they covered in five of their last six games.
San Francisco covered the spread in two of its last three road games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers also won those contests outright.
Both teams went 8-9 to the over, but they have been better under teams in the last few months. Dallas is 7-3 to the under in its last 10 games, while one over hit in San Francisco's last five contests.
Deebo Samuel should touch the ball at least 15 times on Sunday.
The San Francisco 49ers must get their best offensive playmaker involved by any means necessary to throw off Dallas' defensive game plan.
Samuel had eight carries, four receptions and a touchdown pass in Week 18's win over the Los Angeles Rams that solidified the team's postseason position.
The wide receiver made nine catches on 11 targets and ran the ball five times in his previous road contest against the Tennessee Titans.
Four of Samuel's six highest catch totals this season came away from Levi's Stadium. He also produced three of his four highest rushing totals in road contests.
The 49ers will lean on their stable of running backs in the ground game, but we should not be surprised to see Samuel earn a few touches, especially in red-zone situations.
Jimmy Garoppolo can trust Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle to make some plays, but Samuel has had a higher target rate. He was thrown to on 23 occasions in the last three weeks.
The only thing Samuel may not do is throw the ball. A trick play involving Samuel attempting a pass could be too risky for a road playoff game.
Stat Prediction: 8 catches, 90 yards, TD; 8 carries, 45 yards
Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense discovered a nice rhythm in the Week 18 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Prescott threw for five scores in what was a fairly easy win for the Cowboys against most of the Eagles' second-team defenders.
Prescott faces a tougher defensive matchup on Sunday, but he should enter with confidence after throwing for 12 touchdowns in the last three weeks. He did not have an interception in that span.
Four of Prescott's six best passing-yard totals came inside AT&T Stadium, and he threw three or four touchdown passes on five occasions on his home field.
The Dallas quarterback has five touchdowns and two picks in three career postseason appearances, but he has not played in a playoff game since the 2018 season.
Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb should receive high target rates from Prescott, and Cedrick Wilson could be vital through the air after he caught two touchdowns in Week 18.
San Francisco only gave up two 300-yard passing games, but they both were on the road. The first came in Week 1 when the Detroit Lions attempted a comeback in the second half, and the other was in the overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14.
Prescott may not finish with a robust passing-yard total, but he could hurt the 49ers in the red zone with Wilson, Cooper, Lamb and Dalton Schultz on the field.
Stat Prediction: 23-for-39, 278 yards, 2 TD
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.
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