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One X-factor for the 49ers on each side of the ball: Can the Niners slow down Micah Parsons?

Not many teams have in the past two seasons

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Sunday’s divisional matchup with the Cowboys will have no shortage of star power. That’s not an attempt at a pun, by the way. Both teams have high-end and elite difference-makers. Here are two matchups I have my eye on for Sunday.

Offense: Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey vs. Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence

Micah Parsons is an incredible player and athlete. His versatility is such a weapon for this Dallas defense. Demarcus Lawrence is behind him as far as impact for this defensive line and how this defense generates pressure like no other team.

Trent Williams is the best offensive tackle in the NFL. Despite dealing with two broken ribs, Mike McGlinchey has turned his play up. McGlinchey’s injury from last season has led players to retirement.

Brock Purdy’s elusiveness in the pocket has something to do with the offensive line’s uptick in play. Williams and McGlinchey may be the deciding factor in the productivity of the passing game and victory.

Defense: Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw vs. Dalton Schultz

Warner and Greenlaw are undoubtedly the best linebacker duo in the NFL. Greenlaw, particularly, has taken the next step this season. Both linebackers will be tasked at different times with slowing down Dalton Schultz.

The Cowboys have many weapons. I’d argue that Schultz is a bigger weapon than Michael Gallup, who seems to still be recovering from his injury.

Schultz’s season ended with 64 receptions, 672 yards, and seven touchdowns. That’s while missing two games and being injured again in Week 5.

Looking deeper into his season, Schultz thrived matching up against linebackers. Thirty-four of his 64 receptions came against linebackers. Including the Wild Card game on Monday in which Schultz notched four receptions for 58 yards against Lavonte David and Devin White.

Wouldn’t you know it? The two players graded the highest by PFF in coverage were Greenlaw and Warner, respectively. Greenlaw has been targeted a team-high 100 times. However, his coverage snaps per target are 5.2 per game. Warner’s is nearly double at 10.3.

Taking away one of Dak Prescott’s favorite targets will be paramount to slowing down this offense.