Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes in the pocket as Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White (45) drives in during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Cowboys Travel to San Francisco for Divisional Round

The Dallas Cowboys travel to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, for a Divisional Round matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Cowboys are coming off of a convincing 31-14 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round, meanwhile the 49ers similarly cruised past the Seattle Seahawks, 41-23.

Dominating Dak

Dak Prescott led the way for the Cowboys as they looked to win their first road playoff game since 1993.

Despite struggling with turnovers throughout the regular season, Prescott looked like a completely different quarterback on Monday night. He finished the night completing 75% of his passes for 305 yards and five total touchdowns. He looked more comfortable in the pocket than he had all year long, as he scanned the field and moved through his progressions to find open receivers and deliver passes with pinpoint accuracy.

Moving forward to San Francisco, there is certainly a stronger defensive presence. The 49ers’ defense ranked first in yards allowed per game and first in turnover differential. Not to mention, the San Francisco defense also features the NFL’s regular season sack leader, Nick Bosa.

Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers head coach, spoke highly of Prescott and his ability to turn busted plays into positive gains.

If Prescott is able to replicate his Wild Card performance against the 49ers’ threatening defense, then the Cowboys may end up being one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs.

Mr. Irrelevant Defying All Odds

Brock Purdy and his journey to success has been a storyline for much of the year since he took over the starting job.

Last year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” the 262nd and final pick of the NFL Draft, has defied all odds and already broken records. With last week’s Wild Card win, Purdy became the lowest-drafted rookie quarterback to start and win a playoff game.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1615739541431750657

He has the opportunity to be the first rookie quarterback to start in the Super Bowl if the 49ers continue to play like they have. San Francisco has won 11 straight, including all six games that Purdy has started. With a win against the Cowboys, Purdy will become just the fifth rookie to lead his team to the conference championship and first since Mark Sanchez in 2009.

Purdy threw for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season with just four interceptions.

Sunday’s Showdown: Cowboys vs. 49ers

The Cowboys and 49ers faceoff for a spot in the NFC Championship Sunday.

The 49ers have been the hottest team in football featuring a confident rookie quarterback, a two-headed monster with Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel, as well as one of the NFL’s most feared defenders. With their home fans behind them, the 49ers are poised to continue their hot streak into the NFC Championship.

However, Kyle Shanahan acknowledged the talent of this Cowboys team and emphasized that they are playing their best football right now ahead of Sunday’s meeting.

If the 49ers’ defense is able to force Prescott into mistakes, the Cowboys could find themselves in trouble. Prescott threw 15 interceptions throughout the regular season, which was tied for most in the league. The 49ers, who average the fifth most yards per game, will be in a great spot to capitalize if they’re able to force turnovers.

Dallas and San Francisco kick off from Levi’s Stadium on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on FOX.

About Matt Quartararo

Matt is a fourth-year journalism major specializing in sports media and is also completing a sports management certificate. Starting in the Fall 2023 semester, Matt has served as a sports coordinator with WRUF. He also participates in sports broadcasting, providing play-by-play for a variety of Gators sports.

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