Entering Sunday's game with an 0-1 record should eliminate any worries about the Cowboys taking the 49ers lightly. And coming off a 6-10 record last season it would be a ridiculous thought that the Cowboys could be overconfident going into any game right now. But it sure feels like the type of game the Cowboys should win and win easily. In order for the Cowboys to get their first win of the season here are some of the keys to victory.
1. Stop Frank Gore. The 49ers would love nothing more than to keep the ball away from the Cowboys offense as much as possible. And if they establish a good running game with Gore they'll be able to limit Romo's chances to put points on the board. The defense needs to stop Gore early in the game and for the 49ers to throw the ball.
2. Put pressure on Alex Smith. A lot of people think Alex Smith is a joke. But he is actually pretty decent when he has time to throw. There is a reason he was the first pick in the draft a few years back and it is because he has great accuracy from the pocket. Smith's problem has always been that he has rushers in his face constantly and he makes back decisions under duress. Demarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff need to keep Smith moving and he will give the Cowboys several chances at turnovers.
3. Contain Ted Ginn. The 49ers were on the verge of blowing a big lead last week against the Seahawks when Ginn came to the rescue. He returned a kick and a punt for scores to seal the victory. The Cowboys need to contain Ginn and force the 49ers to drive the length of the field for scores.
4. Get out to a fast start. The 49ers don't have a high powered offense. And they really prefer to control the game by running and using a short passing attack. If the Cowboys can put up a couple of early scores they can get the 49ers out of their game plan.
It has been a long time since the Cowboys have entered a game as the clear cut favorites. But I think that is the case here. The key is to handle it by taking care of business. Jason Garrett isn't going to let his players walk into the game thinking they just need to show up. I think the Cowboys will win and win big. I predict a 33-16 win for the Cowboys.