Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. This week, that opponent is the San Francisco 49ers.
The Opponent: The San Francisco 49ers, aka the Santa Clara 49ers, aka Chablis-Drinking, Dinner-Foraging, California Flaking Machines.
The Line: Cowboys by 3. Ugh. One week after one of the biggest choke jobs in team history, they go into the next game as road favorites. There's nothing good about that.
Last Game: A 33-17 win over the Seahawks. And while the Seahawks are god awful and the win isn't a very good indicator of the 49ers' future success, it was coach Jim Harbaugh's first win, and it showcased Ted Ginn housing a kickoff return and a punt return within a span of 59 seconds. Not bad.
The Coach: Jim Harbaugh. Unlike previous college coaches who flamed out in the NFL, Harbaugh has a deep familiarity with the NFL as both a player and as QB coach for the Raiders back when the Raiders were respectable. I think he'll be a success, so long as the team spends the rest of this year tanking and grabs Andrew Luck.
The Offense: Alex Smith is still here. He just keeps coming back for more and more punishment. Smith is a stopgap for the Niners while they develop backup Colin Kaepernick or find a suitable replacement in the offseason. For now, he's left in charge of an offense that has a modicum of talent in running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis, and wideouts Braylon Edwards and Michael Crabtree. Smith was accurate against Seattle but didn't produce many big passing plays, and the team had trouble finding the end zone without Ginn's help. But this Cowboys secondary is hurting, and even Smith could potentially do damage with some of the personnel the Niners have.
The Defense: This is where Dallas can make some headway, because DT Aubrayo Franklin is gone to New Orleans and the rest of this defense is basically Patrick Willis and spare parts. Former Redskin Carlos Rogers mans the corners, and surely it will relieve Tony Romo to know that Carlos will drop at least two easy interceptions from Romo during this game.
Key Matchup: Tony Romo vs. last week. He can try and shrug it off all he likes, but that was one of the worst meltdowns I've ever seen a QB have in front of a national audience. Now Tony Romo has to get his act together and beat this team, because if he doesn't, it's suddenly looking like 2010 all over again.