The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers will play each other Sunday night, 8pm, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, site of this year’s Super Bowl L.
This will be the second preseason game for both teams, with the Cowboys coming off a loss to the Chargers, and the 49ers falling to the Ravens. The second preseason game is often the hardest to predict in regards to who will suit up, even more complicated, the turf at Levi’s Stadium is under scrutiny this week, especially in Dallas, and it is now a question as to whether Cowboy star Tony Romo will suit up at all behind center for this preseason tilt.
Conversely, 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick is also the subject of question. With the 49ers seemingly losing their entire 2014 defense to retirement and off field issues, a team led by defense to 3 straight NFC championship appearances (2012-14) now finds the majority of it fortune tied directly to its quarterback. Although some experts feel the 49ers might not miss as much on defense as originally thought, it has become apparent they will need an explosive and healthy season from Colin Kaepernick to even sniff the playoffs. The other big question surrounding San Francisco is the offensive line, with the center and right guard positions still an open competition.
Meanwhile in Dallas, the Cowboys hope to shed some light on their running back situation. After losing the NFL’s leading rusher from last year- DeMarco Murray- to division rival Philadelphia in the offseason, the Cowboys presumably will turn to a committee featuring Joseph Randle, Murray’s top backup in 2014, newly acquired ex 1st round pick Darren McFadden, as well as Lance Dunbar. After resting all three vs the Chargers, the Cowboys should give this trio their first taste of live game action in 2015.
After parting ways with veteran running back and all-time franchise rushing leader Frank Gore to the Colts in the offseason, San Francisco figures to hand the reigns to former Ohio State star Carlos Hyde-the second back to come off the board in the 2014 draft following Jeremy Hill of LSU to Cincinnati. After Hyde, the Niners still have Kendall Hunter, Mike Davis, and the newly acquired ex Heisman winner from USC- Reggie Bush. However, perhaps the most intriguing Niner lining up in the backfield to keep an eye on is the “LeBron James of Australian Rugby,” Jarryd Hayne, who has been trying to play American football for a while but was unable to qualify for any US college football team. In his first American game last week Hayne didn’t disappoint, ripping off a 52 yard run. How he handles special team duties will go a long way in determining if he can ultimately crack the 49ers final 53 man roster.
The biggest change in San Francisco, other than the defense, may be the overall culture and attitude of the 49er players. Writers have remarked how looser the atmosphere is, with music pumping loud at practice, something not heard during the Jim Harbaugh tenure. How this change impacts the win column in San Francisco remains to be seen, but clearly the 49ers are a little more dependent on Colin Kaepernick and the offense to produce. Both offenses for the Niners and Cowboys struggled in week 1, so both coaching staffs will hope to get things going in a more positive direction this second game of the preseason. However, with the condition of the field in Santa Clara already coming into question, I doubt the Cowboys will play Tony Romo that much, if at all. Clearly the 49ers have more questions about their offense than Dallas, and the Boys should again have one of the NFL’s offensive juggernauts behind arguably the league’s best offensive line. Predicting the preseason outcome is often a matter of predicting whose starters will play the longest, and it would appear in this instance, that this scenario favors the Niners.
Play: 49ers -4.5 @ BetOnline.ag