clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cowboys vs. 49ers, NFL picks and predictions 2016: Dallas favored to pull off the road win

Dak Prescott has played mistake-free football for Dallas. A hobbled San Francisco defense seems unlikely to ruin his winning streak.

Dallas won't have Tony Romo in its Week 4 showdown against the San Francisco 49ers. It might not have star wideout Dez Bryant either. But even without those offensive stars, pundits across the media spectrum are still picking the Cowboys for a road win on Sunday.

The 2-1 Cowboys will head west to Santa Clara for a showdown between old school NFL powerhouses. Dallas has survived the loss of starting quarterback Romo behind the steady play of rookie Dak Prescott. The Mississippi State product has yet to toss an interception and has thrown for an average of over 255 yards per game while rolling up a rock-solid QBR of 82.5 -- good for fourth-best in the NFL.

He's had help, too. Ezekiel Elliott justified his lofty draft status last week by gashing the Chicago Bears for 160 total yards. Even if Bryant can't play, the Cowboys will have plenty of weapons to turn to this week.

The 1-2 49ers, however, have not had as pleasant a beginning to their 2016 season. San Francisco started hot by shutting out the Los Angeles Rams, but the 49ers have suffered back-to-back 19-point defeats to Carolina and Seattle. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert remains the team's starting quarterback despite playing like the human equivalent of the water that precedes the ketchup from a squeeze bottle.

After blanking an anemic Rams offense, the 49ers have given up 83 points in their last two games. They've also struggled with young, mobile quarterbacks -- Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Trevone Boykin combined to roll up 699 total yards and six touchdowns in those wins. That's a formula a young passer like Prescott can duplicate; he ran for more than 2,500 yards in college despite playing most of his games against SEC defenses.

That background is making Dallas a popular pick for Sunday's showdown.

Experts across the spectrum are leaning towards a Cowboy win, even without Bryant in the lineup. At ESPN, seven of nine experts (and the site's pick'em population) are picking Dallas to extend its recent dominance and win for the fourth time in five games against San Francisco. The writers at CBS are evenly balanced; four back the Cowboys and four back the 49ers.

Prescott is also the favorite here at SB Nation, where seven of our 10 picks stump for America's Team.

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Tyler Tynes Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark computer