Dallas Cowboys will win this game because...they control the pace of the game
In addition to having one of the best overall defenses in the game, the Dallas Cowboys' offense has done a pretty great job of helping out the defense this year in a couple of key categories. First of all, the Cowboys' offense has just one turnover all season. That's obviously best in the NFL through four weeks. But beyond that, the Cowboys' offense ranks 1st in the NFL in plays per drive and time of possession per drive.
The best defense is a good offense, right? At least, a good offense that can not only hold onto the ball, but extend drives. The Cowboys have the NFL's top-ranked 3rd down offense right now. The offense hasn't been the team's calling card all season but they will need to be this week to beat San Francisco.
Dallas Cowboys will LOSE this game if...they can't run the ball
The Dallas Cowboys have been solid runnning the ball this season, ranking 7th in the league in total rushing yards (565) through four games played. The 49ers, largely because they are often playing with big leads, have only allowed 264 rushing yards and 3.9 yards per attempt all season. The San Francisco defensive front is big, strong, fast, and athletic.
If the Cowboys can't play balanced on offense in this game, it could lead to their offense not playing the type of ball control we have seen throughout the season. They have to be able to win on early downs to get into favorable third down situations. Otherwise, that explosive 49ers offense is going to get too many chances, and even the top-ranked defense in the league will struggle to keep up with them if they have too many snaps.