Frequent regular-season and even postseason opponents, it's a rare occurrence when the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers face each other in the NFL preseason. This will be only their second meeting since 2009 and just the sixth since 1976. The 49ers have won the last two exhibition tilts with the Cowboys, including a 23-6 triumph at San Francisco when they met most recently in 2015. But overall, the Cowboys were the winners in three of the last five preseason games between the two teams.
Dallas also dominates the regular-season slate against the 49ers. The Cowboys have won five of the last six and six of their last eight games against the 49ers, handing them a 40-10 drubbing last season in San Francisco. The Cowboys have won four in a row and five of the last six games played at San Francisco, two of those victories coming on overtime field goals. The 49ers haven't beaten the Cowboys at home in the regular season since taking a 17-10 verdict on Nov. 2, 1997.
They Whipped Them - The Cowboys utterly dominated the 49ers when they met during the 2017 regular season, blasting them 40-10 to drop San Francisco to 0-6 on the NFL season. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott passed for three touchdowns and scampered for another major. Running back Ezekiel Elliott caught one of those scoring aerials, and he also ran for 147 yards and two more TDs. The 49ers lost three fumbles, two of them coughed up by quarterback C.J. Beathard.
Regular Or Unleaded - When the Cowboys and 49ers go head to head in the regular season, you can count on them packing on the points. The total has gone over in seven of the last nine regular-season games between San Francisco and Dallas. The average total over the past nine Cowboys-49ers games was 53.3 points. Twice they've combined to reach a total of 65 points, and in four other games over this span, the teams combined for more than 50 points.
In preseason play, however, it's proven to be an entirely opposite outcome. Other than a 1978 game that saw the Cowboys win 41-24, the games have been low scoring. Only once in the past four preseason games between the two has the total exceeded 29 points and it's never gone higher than 33. The most points scored by one team in any of the past four games was 23. The Cowboys won 17-7 over the 49ers at home in 2006. Dallas were 13-3 winners at San Francisco in 1987.
Playoff Payoff - The Cowboys and 49ers actually show more postseason games against each other than they do preseason games as opponents. Since 1970, San Francisco and Dallas have met seven times in playoff games, six of them being NFC Championship Games. Dallas owns a 5-2 edge over the 49ers in postseason head to head play. The home team has won four of the seven playoff meetings, and in the case of the six NFC title games, the winner has gone 5-1 in the Super Bowl.
Straight Or Chaser - While it's true that the Cowboys own the 49ers straight up of late, winning five of six overall meetings, as well as four in a row and five of the last six games at San Francisco, things look a little different when you take the point spread into account. Suddenly, the 49ers aren't nearly as bad a bet. The Cowboys are 5-7-2 against the spread in their last 14 games against the 49ers. Dallas is 3-4-1 ATS in its last eight games at San Francisco.
Close Calls - Recent history may not suggest as such, but when you take your research further back into time, you come to learn that a series couldn't be much closer than the all-time slate beween the 49ers and the Cowboys. Dallas owns an overall 18-17-1 edge over the years in regular-season and playoff meetings agains the 49ers, a rivalry that got underway when Dallas was granted an NFL expansion franchise in 1960. But the 49ers lead on the scoreboard, outscoring the Cowboys 899-865 in those 36 games.
They've Been Waiting - When it comes to Super Bowl history, the 49ers and Cowboys are cornerstone franchises within the lore of the big game. The Cowboys have appeared in eight Super Bowls, tied with Pittsburgh and Denver for second on the list of most Super Bowls played. They were the fourth team in NFL history to play in multiple Super Bowls and have won five Super Bowls. But the Cowboys haven't won the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXX in 1995, which was also the last time Dallas played in the game.
The 49ers are right behind Dallas on the list of most Super Bowls played with six appearances. San Francisco won five of those games, the most recent victory coming in Super Bowl XXXIX in 1994, one year prior to the last win by the Cowboys. Joe Montana followed Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw as the second quarterback to win four Super Bowls. The 49ers most recently appeared in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, but were losers in the big game for the first time, falling 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.
Will Jimmy Be Like Dak? - Two years ago, Prescott came off the bench to replace an injured Tony Romo and lead the Cowboys to an NFC East title, and the 49ers believe they found their QB of the future last season when they acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots. Garoppolo took over the starting job in San Francisco from Brian Hoyer in Week 13 last season and went 5-0 the rest of the way. In his career, Garappolo is 7-0 as an NFL starter.
The 49ers rewarded him with an NFL-record five-year, $137.5-million contract, but they aren't the only ones buying into the Garoppolo hype. Bovada lists Garappolo as co-fourth choice in their NFL MVP future book at +1500. The 49ers, 6-10 last season, are co-10th choice in Bovada's Super Bowl LIII future book at +2000, much better odds than the +3300 assigned to the Cowboys. Bovada has pegged the 49ers' wins total at 8.5. Bet the under and you'll get even money. The odds on the over are -130.