On Deck: 49ers

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Cowboys game during the 2014 season. 

The Opponent: The San Francisco 49ers are still one of the tougher teams in the NFL, but they come into this game seriously wounded, especially defensively, which is their calling card.

Past Meetings: The Cowboys and 49ers have each won 16 head-to-head matchups and there's been one tie, so Sunday's game will be the rubber match, at least for the time being. The Cowboys have actually won the last three meetings with the latest coming in 2011 when Tony Romo overcame a punctured lung to lead Dallas to an overtime win.

Key Matchup: Cowboys Offensive Line vs. 49ers Front Seven — The Cowboys are hanging their hats on their young, mammoth offensive line this season and the league has taken notice. The unit has received nationwide praise as being possibly one of the best offensive fronts in the league. With three juggernauts out of the 49ers' punishing defense due to injuries and suspensions, the Cowboys must take advantage.

What's Hot: Not much yet, as we've just had preseason games to look at. One of the best players from the preseason was rookie defensive back Tyler Patmon, who made the team as an undrafted free agent. Rookie safety Ahmad Dixon, who is already establishing himself as one of the NFL's dirtiest players, led the Cowboys with 18 tackles in the preseason and then got cut.

Rookie running back Carlos Hyde, who could end up supplanting Frank Gore at some point, had a nice preseason with 17 carries for 96 yards.

What's Not: The Cowboys offense sputtered throughout the preseason, and it didn't matter who was under center. Tony Romo hardly played, and didn't do anything when he did. Brandon Weeden played quite a bit, and also struggled to put anything together. The offense has a chance to be very special with the likes of DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams to go with that O-line, but the preseason didn't do much to establish that. Good thing is, that really doesn't matter.

Aldon Smith, the 49ers' stud linebacker, is suspended. Defensive end Ray McDonald probably will be after being arrested on domestic violence charges days after the NFL announced new punishment standards for domestic violence, including an automatic six-game suspension on first offense.

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