We haven’t done staff predictions yet this season, but there hasn’t been a game worthy of them, either. That changes in Week 5, as the 49ers host the Cowboys in what will be the two best teams in the NFC squaring off against each other.
Here are our predictions.
Kyle Posey - The 49ers are almost a lock to score 30 points. That’s been the case since Brock Purdy took over and Christian McCaffrey has donned a Niners uniform. It was a lower-scoring game when Dallas and San Francisco met in the playoffs, but the regular season is a different animal.
I don’t think either team has an issue moving the ball tonight, and the Cowboys red zone woes are cured by a lackluster 49ers run defense. Plus, I’d bet Mike McCarthy leans on running Dak Prescott more than we’ve seen.
But I’ve also seen the Cowboys defense be fortunate and lesser offenses move the ball on them. Tonight is when the DaRon Bland hype train ceases as Brandon Aiyuk continues his stellar season in a nail biter. 49ers win 28-27.
Jason Aponte - This highly anticipated matchup on SNF will resemble a slugfest. Which team will make enough plays, protect the football, and capitalize on turnovers? Dallas ranks 30th in the league in red zone success rate. So far, both defenses have limited points and explosive plays. Can the 49ers hold Dallas to field goals and not touchdowns?
The 49ers will look to dominate time of possession with Christian McCaffrey and their run game. If Brock Purdy can play a clean game and avoid mistakes, the 49ers will win. Slowing down Micah Parsons will be Colton McKivitz’s job. The 49ers win 23-20 in a tense game.
Marc Delucchi - The 49ers sure seem due for a dud. Kyle Shanahan has had a ton of success since he became head coach, but slow starts and the occasional disappointing loss have been a staple. But things seem different this season.
The offense and defense have both dominated across the first four weeks. While the Cowboys kept things close in the playoffs last year, they were at home with mostly the same roster. The Niners got better over the course of the offseason and have been less impacted by injuries this year. San Francisco is in a position to dominate. 49ers win 27-17.
Andrew Pasquini - Dallas is a very good football team. The 49ers are just better. Sunday night will be the first true tests of the season for two sides that have combined to outscore their first four opponents 249-99, with both teams scoring at least 30 in seven of their eight games. The only time Dallas didn’t score 30 was their lone Week 2 loss against Arizona.
While a couple of spots could cause concern for San Francisco - Micah Parsons vs. the right side of the offensive line or CeeDee Lamb in the slot - the 49ers just have more talent on the field. Not only is the talent better on the field, but I also have a hard time believing Mike McCarthy can out-coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers win 31-20.
Patrick Holloway - The San Francisco 49ers are not going undefeated. It’s just not happening. The Dallas Cowboys have been suffocating their opponents, and they will provide the most meaningful test yet. The issue is: Dallas hasn’t really played anyone. Then again, neither have the 49ers.
Kyle Shanahan has displayed numerous times he can anticipate what Mike McCarthy will throw at him and this Dallas defense provides the perfect test for this offense that has yet to score under 30 points a game. The Cowboys will provide a great litmus test for the offense.
All that said, the 49ers are not going undefeated, they will drop a game or two, or three at some point this season. But it certainly isn’t happening on Sunday. 49ers win 34-27 and Brock Purdy puts up better numbers than he did against Arizona.
Rohan Chakravarthi - At the beginning of the season, I penciled in this game as San Francisco’s first loss, despite it being a home bout, as Dallas sported a strong defensive line, and their team matched up well enough against the 49ers. However, since then, they’ve lost top cornerback Trevon Diggs, while their offense hasn’t looked as elite as previously believed.
Defensively, while the Cowboys are amongst the league’s best when it comes to passing defenses, they aren’t nearly as stout against the run, which the 49ers will look to exploit as they’ve done in the past. Dallas is good, but the 49ers have been on a tear to begin 2023. I don’t see them losing this one. I said 24-20 on Thursday, but I’m re-adjusting to 27-17 49ers.