Tampa Bay or Dallas? Who 49ers fans should cheer for tonight and why

The 49ers 41-23 win over Seattle on Saturday afternoon sent them to the NFC Divisional round. San Francisco will face the winner of tonight’s game between Tampa Bay and Dallas next Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Here is a quick look at the potential matchups:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

San Francisco blew out the Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium in week 14. Tampa Bay was playing without both of its starting safeties, Vita Vea, and right tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Tom Brady has been sacked on only 2.99% of his drop backs this season. The veteran’s quick release helping his offensive line out.

While Brady is still able to make every throw, the Buccaneers lean too heavily on the veteran quarterback. Tampa Bay finished the regular season with the most pass attempts in the league and the fewest rushing attempts.

Tampa Bay’s defense is one of the tougher matchups in the league when healthy. They have allowed the fifth lowest net yards per pass this year.

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott force opponents to focus on the run. The combo allows Dallas to stick with the running game, a big reason why they have the fifth most attempts this year.

Pollard and Elliott create opportunities in the passing game off play action for CeeDee Lamb and tight end Dalton Schultz.

Dak Prescott has struggled with turnovers recently, but his mobility could cause trouble for the 49ers defense.

Dallas has recorded 51 sacks this season and forced a league high 32 turnovers. They are second in the league with 28.8 points scored per game while allowing only 19.8.


Both Tampa Bay and Dallas have strong defenses, the difference between the two is on offense.

San Francisco has struggled this season with offenses which can stay committed to the run and make throws off play action. This is why 49ers fans should be cheering for Tampa Bay tonight.

Although they have Brady and a solid defense Tampa Bay’s lack of a consistent running game plays into the strength of the 49ers defense. Without needing to worry about stopping the run, Nick Bosa and the rest of San Francisco’s defense can focus on getting after Brady and taking away the passing game.

This article has 36 Comments

  1. Tampa Bay scares the hell out of me. I think they were missing 5 starters when we faced them earlier all of whom will play Sun. When the 49ers pass rush is not happening they struggle. Against TB earlier this year we had 0 sacks but Brady was really off that day. With Brady getting rid of the ball as quickly as he does he can take our pass tush out of the game. Can we rely on Brady having another bad game. If the crowd can turn up the noise level by about 10% next Sun. the Cowboys on the road don’t scare me. What I would really like to see tonight is an incredibly physical game from both teams. The winners of tonights game has 2 full less days to recover/prepare and a long/cross country flight to deal with, hopefully that will give the 49ers a real advantage. Although it may play in the 49ers favor this year I hope the NFL gets rid of this Mon. playoff game next year. Who knows it could be us next year.

    1. Ditto. Purdy will face a stiff test from Dallas Sunday as will the D, especially the secondary. TV ratings for this one should be huge.

    2. My very first time attending a nfl game was the playoff game against Dallas in 1982. Would love to see the Niners beat Dallas again in a playoff game!

      1. T-Bone,
        I was there too. Spent the night in the Candlestick parking lot to get those tickets. Wasn’t my first game that was in 1959 (I think) at Kezar.

        1. wow, Coach. You really are a fan! My grandfather used to tell me about the great OL of the Brody years..men like Rock, Mudd, and Rhode? One year they had only 11 sacks for the entire season I remember him telling me.

          1. Allie,
            The O line in 1970 gave up 8 sacks the entire season. There are a few here who have been 9er fans longer than I have been.

    3. me too. Dallas has been up and down this year but is always a threat to be a good team with a good QB. Purdy must be at his best and stay healthy.

  2. Lol – It’s 3rd quarter Monday night and 49ers fans would love to have the Bucs. Tom should hang up his cleats after this season and call Gisele to reconcile.

      1. I think we’re more than one point better (plus the standard home advantage).

        Dallas is good in the trenches but we’re no slouch either. And we have them beat in pretty much every other facet.

        The line might stay close to encourage bettors but in reality we’re much better than this Dallas team.

        Of course these games aren’t won on paper.

      2. John Breech, who’s a solid prognosticator, puts Dallas 34-31 over the Niners. Breech says that “since Brock Purdy took over the starting job, the 49ers haven’t really been tested because they haven’t faced any good teams. Purdy has looked great, but he’s faced five teams in the regular season that finished with a combined record of 35-49-1. ”

        Sunday can’t come soon enough. Win or lose, the Niners have had a terrific season.

  3. Prescott won’t have the time to scan the field to find WRs like he did tonight against the Bucs.

    My only concern is Prescott running out of the pocket. He is not a running QB, but can be effective when he does. DeMeco will need to be weary of this and I believe that he can serve up some alignments to nullify this part of Prescott’s game.

    That said, happy days are here again with another 49ers vs cowboys playoff game. It just feels right!

  4. Giants beat eagles
    Jags beat chiefs
    Bengals beat bills
    Niners beat cowboys

    Niners beat bengals in superbowl!

    realistically 9ers will prob need to go through dallas, eagles and either chiefs or bills. Tough set of games!

  5. I would like to have seen more of a slugfest last night. Cowboys going to Tampa on a Monday then coming to San Francisco the next Sunday gives the 49ers a bit of an edge. 49ers proved last year multiple road playoff games is not insurmountable but extra rest and no travel is definitely advantage 49ers.

  6. With DeMeco Ryans, reportedly, being interview by 4(?) teams this week, I wonder how much impact that have on Defensive game planning for Dallas

      1. Sometimes the initial interview is short less than an hour the second interview can be up to 5 hours. The first interview allows teams to meet the Rooney rule if they already have a white candidate in mind IE Sean Payton

      2. I kinda agree with that. But Ryans is a hot HC prospect at the moment and he has to seize the opportunity. As long as he is taking interviews while off the 49ers clock, I’m fine with it.

        While DeMeco is currently making a decision on which team might be a good fit, no doubt the 49ers FO is working on a list of a possible D-Dord as well.

        The fact that Lynch and Shanahan have done a great job in hiring coaches (Saleh, McDaniel and now Ryans) leads me to believe that their next D-Cord will be successful.

    1. Two of the interviews are after hours late in the week and the other two are after the game I believe.

    1. No thank you. Flores is one of the most overrated defensive coaches in the NFL. Many other coaches even refused to work with the guy. Plus he is now a pariah among owners. He’ll never be a head coach again in the NFL. I’d rather have a DC who has a chance at a head coaching gig so you can get some comp picks if he’s hired as a head coach.

      1. Second this. There are some inconsistencies in Flores’ stories and I wouldn’t take a chance on someone disrupting your staff. We have a good thing going here.

      2. 1.9,
        Pariah is a little harsh, but I don’t see him as a possible candidate either.

        It hasn’t been this current regime’s practice of hiring college coaches, but if they break the mode this off season, I hope that they consider Will Muschamp Co D-Cord from UGA. He has an impressive track record throughput his college coaching career.

        There was an ugly stint with the Dolphins when he followed Nick Saban to the pros, but he’s come a long way since then.

  7. Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney trusted him enough to hire Flores and the Steelers have a pretty good track record on hiring coaches.

        1. What in heck does that have to do with Shanahan who would make the decision, not Baalke and York.

    Jack says: Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott force opponents to focus on the run. The combo allows Dallas to stick with the running game.”
    1) 9er D Keeps Pollard and Elliott to less than 100 rushing yds. Forces Pollard offense to be one dimensional
    2) D-line keeps gap discipline to prevent Prescott from picking up 1st downs
    3) D line keeps pressures on Prescott, Nick Bosa gets 2 sacks.
    3) 9ers run the ball 40 times, pounds Dallas D into Levi turf and controls the clock.
    4) Purdy uses play action pass if Dallas stacks the box
    9ers 34 Dallas 27

    1. Dak may have had a career game against the Bucs. He would need to have back to back career games to beat the 49ers. I can’t see that happening.

      I feel that half of the teams in the NFL could have beat the Bucs last night. So, I don’t view last night’s cowboys win as a true testament of what we’ll see on Sunday.

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