Last-place Cowboys, slumping 49ers collide in Dallas
Originally scheduled for prime time, Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers is now a clash of NFC division cellar dwellers.
Flexed out of the featured Sunday night slot in favor of the Cleveland Browns at the New York Giants, the Cowboys (4-9) will host the 49ers (5-8) at 1 p.m. ET in Arlington, Texas.
Dallas is two games behind NFC East-leading Washington with three games left, while San Francisco is four games behind the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks and two back of the third-place Arizona Cardinals. Both need a Christmas miracle or three to make the playoffs.
The Cowboys are coming off a 30-7 win last Sunday in Cincinnati, but they are 0-3 against the NFC West this season and have lost three straight home games by a combined 103-45 margin.
Dallas hasn’t won two in a row all season, but first-year coach Mike McCarthy was assured this week that he will be back with the team in 2021.
“There will be absolutely no change with coach McCarthy, and I am surprised that someone would question Mike,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones called the idea that McCarthy was on the hot seat “ridiculous.”
The 49ers have dropped five of their last six games, including Sunday’s 23-15 loss to Washington in a “home” game at Glendale, Ariz. Forced to relocate due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County, Calif., San Francisco hasn’t played a game at Levi’s Stadium since Nov. 5.
Giveaways have plagued both teams, as only the Denver Broncos (29) have more turnovers than the 49ers (25) and Cowboys (24).
San Francisco turned the ball over three times against Washington, its seventh straight game and ninth this season with multiple turnovers.
“It’s just focus on the details, working during the week and just taking care of the football,” said quarterback Nick Mullens, who threw his 10th interception and lost his third fumble on Sunday. “At some point, it has to be done to give this team a chance to win.”
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Mullens will make his sixth straight start on Sunday, as Jimmy Garoppolo needs at least another week of rehab for his ankle injury.
“I’m waiting to hear from the doctors,” Shanahan said about Garoppolo’s status. “The only way we’re going to put him out there is if he’s completely healed. I’m not going to risk him having to get surgery on it.”
There was mixed news on the injury front for San Francisco. Tight end George Kittle, sidelined since breaking his foot in Week 8, was designated to return from injured reserve, but wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is likely out for the season and running back Raheem Mostert (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Offensive lineman Colton McKivitz landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Cowboys are getting some help in the secondary, with cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie (reserve/COVID-19 list) and Trevon Diggs (foot) both returning to practice this week.
–Field Level Media