San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys 9/7/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction
San Francisco 49ers (0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm (AT&T Stadium)
The Line: Dallas Cowboys +4.5 -- Over/Under: 51 See the Latest Odds
The Dallas Cowboys host the San Francisco 49ers in the marquee matchup of the 4:25PM ET block on Fox NFL Sunday.
The San Francisco 49ers have made the conference championship in each of the last three seasons and will hope 2014 is the year they can finally get over the hump. Head coach Jim Harbaugh led his team to a 2-2 preseason in 2014 where the 49ers were beaten down in the first two games and responded strongly in the next two.
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The 49ers offense is led by versatile quarterback Colin Kaepernick who threw for 3,197 yards in the regular season last year and ran for 524 on 92 carries as well. Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree are both solid options at wide receiver and the surprisingly fast Vernon Davis is a top tight end in the league. Frank Gore is the primary running back in his 10th season out of Miami with some youth behind him in Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore, and LaMichael James. The 49ers were a run-heavy team last year ranking 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards.
On defense, the 49ers were a top ten team a season ago in points allowed as well as passing and rushing yards allowed. Gone from last year’s unit is bruising safety Donte Whitner, but the 49ers made a strong replacement bringing in Antoine Bathea. Missing from week one action will be starting nose tackle Glenn Dorsey, LB NaVorro Bowman, and LB Aldon Smith which could put the unit’s effectiveness in jeopardy to start the season. The 49ers will still have Patrick Willis to captain the defense but it may be prudent to temper expectations for what we’ve come to know as a dominant unit.
The Dallas Cowboys finished 8-8 last year in what has become a theme of disappointment and underachievement out of Dallas. The Cowboys didn’t do much to boost morale in the preseason going 0-4 under head coach Jason Garrett.
The Cowboys have some big weapons on offense as veteran QB Tony Romo has one of the best receivers in the game in Dez Bryant as his primary target in addition to star tight end Jason Witten and powerful RB DeMacro Murray. Miles Austin is gone from last year’s group but stepping up to fill the role is Terrance Williams who had a breakout rookie season last year out of Baylor. The Cowboys lack depth behind Murray at the running back position with the inexperienced tandem of Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle.
On defense, the Cowboys were a mess in 2013 ranking 26th in the league in points allowed giving up 27 per game, 30th in the league in passing yards allowed while conceding 302.2 yards per game, and 27th in rushing yards allowing with an average of 128.5 yards per game. Linebacker Sean Lee was ruled out for the season in July, DeMarcus Ware left for Denver, and Orlando Scandrick will miss the first four games with a suspension, leaving plenty of question marks as to whether the Cowboys can show improvement over last year’s historically poor output.
The 49ers are a couple pieces short of being full strength on defense which makes them a stretch to cover this margin on the road despite the Cowboys downright pathetic defense.