Dallas Cowboys (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), Week 2 NFL, 4:05 PM E, Sunday, September 18, 2011, Candlestick Park (Natural Grass), SF, CA TV: FOX
by Jeff Hochman, NFL Handicapper, JH-Sportsline
Point Spread: Dal -3 /SF +3
Over/Under Total: 43
Two longtime playoff rivals meet in week No. 2 when the Dallas Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick. Dallas is coming of that Sunday Night meltdown as they blew a 14-point fourth quarter lead and lost 27-24. Dallas easily covered the 6.5-point spread. Tony Romo fumbled going in for a score and also threw an ugly interception, which was partly Dez Bryant’s fault. Romo had another big passing game, but for someone who has been in the league for six years needs to do a better job at the end of games. Romo was 23-of-36 for 342 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets were extremely lucky to get the win. They refs called ZERO penalties on the Jets while Dallas had seven. Never seen that before! This is the first time the Cowboys have ever lost a game in which they led by 14 or more points in the 4th quarter.
The San Francisco 49’ers defeated the Seahawks 33-17 as 5-point favorites last week. They were out-gained 219-209 but it was the special teams that woke up. The game was correctly predicted by yours truly for www.predictem.com. It wasn’t easy as the 49’ers struggled on offense. The Special Teams play was another story. Ted Ginn Jr. had a kickoff return touchdown and punt return touchdown less than a minute apart in the game against the Seahawks. He is the 1st player in NFL history to return two kicks for TD (punts or kickoffs) in the final five minutes of a game. Alex Smith was 15-of-20 for 124 yards.
For the most part the Cowboys’ young offense line held their own against the blitz-happy Jets. If Tony Romo gets time to throw he can pick apart any defense. Dallas has the personnel that creates match-up problems across the board. Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Felix Jones are all thriving in this offense. The Cowboys have played nine regular season games under Jason Garrett and Dallas has been in a position to win every game. Dallas has a new stud on defense and his name is Sean Lee. He recorded 10 tackles and two assists from his linebacker spot in the debacle loss against the Jets.
Jim Harbaugh’s team did not make the crucial mistake and they won with great special teams play late in the fourth quarter. If they want to upset Dallas they will need to produce more than 209 yards of total offense. Dallas racked up 390 yards of total offense against a Top 5 defense in the Jets. Frank Gore will test the Cowboys’ run defense that only allowed 45 rushing yards this past Sunday night. Dallas brings in the No. 1 ranked run defense after the first week of play. Look for both teams to play 3 and 4 receiver sets and take advantage of both defenses that have cover issues in the secondary. Dallas is really banged up at Cornerback and are in the market for some help. Starting CB’s Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins are very questionable for this game.
The big question heading into this game for the 49’ers is—- Will Harbaugh allow Alex Smith to open up their offense. Seattles so inept on offense that the 49’ers didnt need to explore any creative avenues to win. The Cowboys will be different because they have numerous weapons on offense and with Tony Romo red-hot to make up for his two terrible late mistakes vs. the Jets. And, because the Cowboys defense has speed, skill, and power. There was nobody like DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, or Sean Lee on the Seahawks stop unit. The 49’ers will need to play a lot better on offense if they want to win this game.
The total has gone Over in 13 of Dallas’s last 14 games The total has gone OVER in 5 of San Francisco’s last 6 games. The Over is 5-0 last five when these two teams meet.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Dallas Cowboys -3.
The Cowboys will look to bounce back from last week’s debacle. This team has too much talent not too. You know that Tony Romo will be focused for sure. San Francisco won’t lay down but the Cowboys will pull away late in this one. Dallas by 7!
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