Cowboys Wild Card preview: Q&A with 49ers expert Peter Panacy

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys are taking on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Wild Card Weekend. There are a lot of questions circling the web about how this game will go, who to watch out for, and much more.

Who better to ask pressing questions to than FanSided’s 49ers expert Peter Panacy? Panacy runs Niner Noise, the official 49ers FanSided website. He is a lifelong Niners fan and has been running the site since 2015. He was also a lead columnist and gameday correspondent for the 49ers with Bleacher Report from 2012-2014.

It’s safe to say this man knows a lot about our Wild Card enemy. So, without further ado, here are some pressing questions answered by a guy who knows the Niners very well.

Question 1: How much of a factor is Jimmy G’s injury, and will we see Trey Lance?

Panacy: Jimmy Garoppolo gutted it out through that injury against the Rams. His performance wasn’t perfect, but at least on the film, it didn’t appear as if he was going through any sort of significant setback. The real challenge, of course, will be whether or not he wants to risk throws while under pressure, potentially subjecting himself to hitting his hand on another player’s helmet or something. That could be an X-factor.

In reality, that’s probably the only way Trey Lance gets into the game, Garoppolo suffering an injury. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has stuck by Garoppolo for the better part of the year and noted how Jimmy G would play if he was even remotely close to 100 percent.

If Garoppolo is healthy, Lance won’t be a factor.

Question 2: Who is an under-the-radar weapon that Cowboys fans should worry about?

Panacy: He hasn’t been more than a limited third-down receiver and red-zone target until Week 18, but second-year wide receiver Jauan Jennings surely turned it up against the Los Angeles Rams, recording a career-best six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

Dallas will rightfully focus on fellow wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but the job Jennings has done as a tertiary target has been commendable.

Question 3: What is the most impressive win for the 49ers this season and why?

Panacy: I think that Week 18 win over the Rams has to go down as the most impressive. Perhaps that overtime bout against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this season comes close, but the victory over Los Angeles had a bit of everything: the 49ers overcoming a massive deficit suffered early, some cool trick plays, the pass rush taking over in the second half, game-sealing interceptions, game-tying touchdowns with under two minutes in regulation, yards after the catch and so on.

Plus, doing all that on the road in a must-win game is a great way to respond to all the pressure. It’s hard to top that.

Question 4: Why could the 49ers win this game?

Panacy: Dallas is excellent at forcing turnovers, and Garoppolo has been prone to throwing them. If Jimmy G protects the ball, the 49ers are 7-0 on the year compared to 2-6 if he tosses a pick. And it’s not as if the Cowboys turn the ball over themselves a lot.

As such, especially against Dallas’ No. 1-ranked offense, ball control will be vital. The Niners win if they revert to a ground-and-pound offense, which might work against a Cowboys defense allowing 4.5 yards per carry.

Question 5: Why could the 49ers lose this game?

Panacy: Again, it reverts back to those turnovers. Even a single turnover from San Francisco could be disastrous, especially against quarterback Dak Prescott and that playmaking offense.

Plus, despite flashes of brilliance as of late, the 49ers cornerback room is still awfully questionable and has been the team’s biggest defensive weakness this season.

If that Cowboys end up winning, it’ll likely be because they took advantage of this group efficiently.

We are so grateful for Peter’s time and are certainly looking forward to the matchup this weekend!