by Dallas Cowboys Mailbag, David Helman & Rob Phillips
The buzz seems to be that the big upset pick this week is the 49ers over Cowboys. How about we play that disrespect card and use it and be the team that comes out like a house on fire and goes up 14-0 early, rather than being on the receiving end? Let's get up on these guys and force them out of their run game. - WILLIAM DERASMO / FAIRFAX STATION, VA
David: It's honestly pretty understandable. San Francisco has been on a hot streak, and they just capped off the regular season with a fantastic comeback against a playoff team. It's been a while since the Cowboys have had an impressive win. Personally, I don't really care what the consensus is among fans or media. But if the team wants to use that to their advantage, go for it. We see all the time in all types of sports that few things motivate athletes more than the disrespect card. If they want to tap into the outside narratives to help them find some extra juice, it couldn't hurt.
Rob: I wouldn't say the 49ers are a consensus upset pick, but if they're getting some love this week nationally it's because they have championship-level experience, they've been playing very well the last half of the season in particular, and there are some matchup challenges they present on paper. You can flip it around and say the Cowboys present problems for them in specific areas, too. That's why this is a fun matchup. I agree that a fast start is important, especially against a team that wants to establish the run as long as they possibly can.
What is your favorite memory of this past regular season for our Cowboys? - WALTER DEBELL / TROY, NY
David: Everything about the Patriots game just felt special. They got a dramatic win in a building where they had never won, and they did so by racking up 500+ yards against a Bill Belichick defense. Cedrick Wilson came up with a clutch fourth down catch, Greg Zuerlein bounced back with a clutch, game-tying field goal. And then the Lamb walk-off touchdown was icing on the cake. Just a really memorable game that showcased just how much potential this team had.
Rob: I'll go with two quick ones. First, Dak Prescott throwing for 300 yards and three touchdown passes on the almost-one-year anniversary of his 2020 ankle injury in the same stadium against the same team. Second, the Minnesota game. I know the Vikings didn't turn out to be a playoff team this year, but that's a really tough place to play, and everybody picked up their game a little bit to help Cooper Rush get the job done without Dak for one game. That's the kind of game championship-level teams find a way to win.