The Dallas Cowboys need all hands on deck for Sunday's all-important game against the San Francisco 49ers, who are riding a 14-game regular season win streak and have ousted the Cowboys in each of the last two playoffs.
While the result won't have any impact on what happens in January, the Cowboys need the confidence that they not only can compete toe-to-toe with the 49ers, but that they can beat them in a high-pressure setting.
Having Micah Parsons at full-strength would help (how's that for analysis?), but the All-Pro defender gave fans a scare last week against the Patriots when he left briefly with a knee injury. He didn't miss much time. If Parsons can walk, there's no talking him out of playing, but there was a noticeable limp as he left the field.
Luckily for the Cowboys, it sounds like Parsons will be all systems go for Sunday night.
Is Micah Parsons playing this week? Latest Week 5 injury updates for Cowboys vs 49ers
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Parsons said the following:
Parsons was limited on Wednesday, per head coach Mike McCarthy, but it's likely the Cowboys are granting him some extra rest on that knee. Wednesday is typically a veteran rest day for Dallas and sure enough McCarthy later confirmed that Parsons is "good to go" for the 49ers game.
This is massive news for Dallas, as Parsons ranks first in just about every pass rushing metric through four games, including pressures (29), pressure rate (27.4%) and positive pass rush rate (75.2%). He also recorded a whopping nine pressures vs the Patriots, which most viewed as a down game for his standards.
Parsons' importance goes without saying, but there was never real concern that he'd miss Week 5 against the 49ers. Tyron Smith, however, is a different story after he missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Is Tyron Smith playing this week? Latest Week 5 injury updates for Cowboys vs 49ers
In a surprising turn of events, Smith returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis. This obviously doesn't confirm he'll play Sunday, but it's worth noting that he was a DNP all last week before getting ruled out. The fact he was limited on a Wednesday suggests he has a real chance of suiting up.
That would be huge.
The 49ers specialize at generating pressure with a four-man front. Having Smith back would allow the Cowboys the best opportunity to thwart San Francisco's pass rush. Before the injury, Smith was in All-Pro form, as he allowed just one pressure across 68 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
If you can believe it, it's been over a full season since the Cowboys desired starting offensive line -- LT Tyron Smith, LG Tyler Smith, C Tyler Biadasz, RG Zack Martin, RT Terence Steele -- have started a game together.
Anything can happen with Smith given his injury history, but his return could change the complexion of Sunday's clash of the titans.