NFL preseason action resumes on Thursday, August 9, 2018, as the Dallas Cowboys pay visit to the San Francisco 49ers at the latter’s Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, California.
This will be the first preseason game for both squads this year. The Cowboys went 3-1 during last year’s preseason while the 49ers were 2-2 in their 2017 NFL Preseason campaign.
The Cowboys had high expectations entering the 2017 NFL season but sputtered to finish the season at 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Dallas started the season with a decent 5-3 record but successive defeats to the Falcons, Eagles and Chargers doomed their playoff hopes.
On the other hand, the 49ers started their 2017 season an abysmal 0-9. But they finished the season strong by winning six of their last seven games. San Francisco missed the playoff bus again last season but at 6-10, they showed improvement from their previous two seasons.
Big Hole In Dallas
There will be a huge hole in the Cowboys offense this coming season with the release of wide receiver Dez Bryant. Likewise, tight end Jason Witten won’t be there either for Dallas as he announced his retirement last May. That means that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will have to find new targets next season.
Prescott remains as the Cowboys’ #1 play caller when the 2018 season begins. The 25-year-old Mississippi State product led the Cowboys in all passing categories last season. Prescott threw for 3,324 yards on 308-490 passing with a total of 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He finished the season with an 86.6% passer rating while playing all 16 games for Dallas.
Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for 983 yards in 10 games last season, returns to the fold for the Cowboys. The addition of wide receiver Tavon Austin from free agency and the drafting of wide receiver Michael Gallup in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL draft looks to help ease the loss of Bryant while 5th overall pick Dalton Schultz looks to address the retirement of Witten.
DeMarcus Lawrence will lead the Dallas defense this season. After just a total of nine sacks in his first three NFL seasons, Lawrence recorded a total of 14.5 sacks last season. The Cowboys also strengthened their defensive line by drafting Leighton Van Esch and Dorance Armstrong while adding Jihad Ward from free agency.
Dallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers 8/9/18
Odds: Cowboys +164, 49ers -184
Odds from Sportsbetting.ag as of 8/9/18
Strong Finish Behind Garoppolo
The last few seasons have been very rough for the San Francisco 49ers and 2017 looked to be no different. But after the Niners traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, things started to turn around for them as they finished strong with five straight victories behind Garoppolo.
Garoppolo threw for 1560 yards on 120 attempts last season and finished with a completion rate of 67.4% and a quarterback rating of 96.2%. Garoppolo looks to remain healthy this coming season as he only started five games last season because of injury. His health should be the key to the Niners making the playoffs.
The 49ers averaged 32.5 points per game in their last 4 games after averaging just 16.8 points per game in their first 12 games. Garoppolo gives the 49ers a lot to look forward to this season, even though they lost running back Carlos Hyde.San Francisco added Jerick McKinnon from Minnesota and he should get plenty of chances to compete for the top running back job in San Francisco. The Niners also drafted wide receivers Richie James and Dante Pettis and picked up Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey with the 9th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
San Francisco added defensive back Richard Sherman and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu to bolster their defense. The 49ers also used six of their nine draft picks to solidify this side of the field. Although they lost DB Eric Reid, the San Francisco defense should be good and should be in the Top 10 in the league next season.
The Dallas Cowboys are 6-4 in their last 10 games against the San Francisco 49ers and were 6-2 overall on the road last season. San Francisco didn’t have a good record at home last season and was just 3-5 at Levi’s Stadium. Head to head, the favorite in the last five meetings between these teams have a record of 4-0-1.
Dallas will most likely test their new receiving team with the goal of familiarizing them with their offense while on the other end of the field, they will attempt to do better in stopping their opponent’s running game. Since this is just week 1 of the preseason, the 49ers will also be most likely trying out new pieces and will not go with its regulars. But it appears that the Niners have acquired more talent during the summer and these additions will most likely be the difference in this matchup.
San Francisco’s defense has gotten much better especially with their draft picks and once Prescott isn’t on the field for the Cowboys, the Niners defense will stall the Dallas offensive machine. While Dallas feels out its new roster, we’re picking the San Francisco 49ers to beat the Dallas Cowboys on 8/9/18.