Dallas Cowboys Countdown to San Francisco 49ers

WHEN:  3:05 p.m. Central Time

WATCH: FOX (Thom Brennaman & Troy Aikman)

LISTEN: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; Sirius 83, XM 83; Cowboys app

FOLLOW: @BobbyBeltTX@CamiAnnG@JonahTulsNFL@therealmarklane

07-FOX-V2

Everything in red is Cowboys-49ers

 

10: Number of wins and losses Jason Garrett has against rookie head coaches — The eighth head coach in Cowboys history is right at .500 against first-year head coaches with a 6-4 record on the road. Garrett needs to draw upon his experience as a two-time division-winning coach in this league and not get out-maneuvered by Kyle Shanahan the way he was three weeks ago at AT&T Stadium with Sean McVay. A loss to Shanahan will make three straight seasons Garrett will have dropped three games to rookie head coaches.

 

9: The Dallas defense’s rank in passing yards per completion — The Cowboys defense surrenders 10.4 yards per completion, good for ninth-best in the NFL. Dallas is taking on the likes of a rookie quarterback in C.J. Beathard who posted a 72.1 passer rating against Washington and had 12.9 yards per completion. Dallas will need to keep the third-rounder from Iowa’s options limited to check-downs and not let him find Pierre Garcon.

 

8: The 49ers’ rank for fewest points per game — San Francisco scores 18.8 points per game, ranking eighth-fewest in the NFL. The Cowboys defense gives up 26.4 points per game. Most of the 132 points surrendered by the Cowboys have come in the second half with 62. San Francisco has scored 75 points in the second half. Dallas will need to keep the 49ers at or below their 6.1 points per quarter in the second half if they hope to hold on to a big halftime lead.

 

7: Pierre Garcon’s rank for most targets — The 31-year-old receiver is the most popular target on the 49ers with 56 targets, good for the seventh-most in the NFL. Garcon has a 58.9 percent catch rating with 33 grabs for 434 yards. Oddly, he does not have any touchdowns on the season. He may get one against the Cowboys secondary that features youthful cornerbacks and inconsistent safeties.

 

6: Ezekiel Elliott’s rank for rushing attempts and rushing yards — It’s not like the Cowboys offense doesn’t try to get him the ball with 105 rushing attempts and 393 rushing yards per game. However, teams have been selling out on Elliott on first down, limiting him to a whopping 3.53 yards per carry. In 2016 through five games, it was 5.58. Elliott has done better upping his first-down yards per carry from 2.84 heading into the Green Bay game compared to 3.53 now. However, the Cowboys must still commit to Elliott on first down.

 

5: The San Francisco defense’s rank for yards per completion — The 49ers defense gives up 12.0 yards per completion, ranking as the fifth-most in the NFL. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is pretty low on the list through the first six weeks with 10.6 yards per completion, tied with Drew Brees for the 23rd-best overall. Prescott took his shots downfield against the Packers. He must continue this against the San Francisco defense.

 

4: Carlos Hyde’s number of rushing touchdowns — The former Ohio State running back has scored four rushing touchdowns through the first six weeks of the season, all from inside the 5-yard line. The Dallas defense has only given up two rushing touchdowns thus far, tied with the Giants, Falcons, and Saints for the third-fewest in the NFL. Hyde is not exactly a scrub back, and the Dallas defense needs to contain him and not let him get his fifth rushing touchdown on the season.

 

3: The Cowboys offense’s rank for sacks per drop back — While the Cowboys offensive line has been trying to reestablish their identity with La’el Collins finding his stride at right tackle, Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper have swapped time at left guard. Nonetheless, Prescott is sacked 3.8 percent on his drop backs, good for the third-fewest in the NFL. The 49ers are tied with the Eagles and Patriots for the 15th-most sacks in the NFL with 14. Dallas needs to keep the 49ers mediocre as Prescott goes through his progressions.

 

2: Cowboys offense’s rank for red zone conversion — Dallas has turned red zone trips into touchdowns 66.7 percent of the time, good for second-best behind Green Bay. Even though the Cowboys have been hosed by their second half performances the past two weeks, Dallas needs to keep with this identity and punch it in when inside the opposing 20-yard line. San Francisco aren’t exactly pushovers in this department as they rank 11th-best in the NFL with a 48.0 percent conversion rate. Nevertheless, Dan Bailey needs to make more extra point appearances than field goal tries.

 

1: Number of takeaways the Cowboys have in October — And the number is only there because center Travis Frederick forced a fumble during the lateral-palooza to end the Packers game. In other words, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s defense has not forced a turnover since Week 2 in Denver. With a defense that has blown second half leads in consecutive weeks, the lack of takeaways points to a fundamental problem with the defense. If Marinelli’s defense doesn’t protect a lead and force turnovers against the 0-6 49ers, it will start to feel a lot like 2015, even if the starting quarterback has an intact collarbone.

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