A new habit has developed for NFL fans. Every week we are anxiously waiting for someone to appear in the COVID protocol on our team rosters. It adds a new and unwanted level to the fear of injuries that have always plagued the lists. The Dallas Cowboys certainly had their share of both. But as they prepare to clash with the San Francisco 49ers, they are in remarkably good condition. And after a few weeks of facing teams that were exhausted, Dallas has a similarly healthy team coming to AT&T Stadium for a wild card round.
This is definitely good news. The game is likely to be very competitive. This leads to captivating football that is fun but potentially nerve-wracking. This can be a serious problem for the Cowboys, as placekicker Greg Zuerlein does not inspire confidence if the end result is to come.
It’s still a little remarkable to have two rosters, which are mostly untouched after the long grind of the basic part, which was the first to play seventeen games. Injuries / COVID did not escape Dallas during the season, but thanks to current rules, he somehow managed to get almost everyone back and prepare them for the most important match of the 2021-2022 season. And for the most part, the 49ers have achieved the same.
We discussed all of these ideas in the latest issue of Ryled Up on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Don’t forget to subscribe to our network to get access to all our shows. Apple devices can sign up here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
There are even parallels in a few players that each team lacks. It is most evident in the wide receiver. The Cowboys lost Michael Gallup just a few weeks ago, while Mohamed Sanu recently went on IR. Both played the role of WR3 for their teams. Gallup is out for the rest of the playoffs, but Sanu might still be able to return based on what we know. In the defensive line, San Francisco DT lost Javon Kinlaw to IR ending the season, and in Dallas, a similar fate befell Brent Urban. Kinlaw is probably a bigger loss for his team, but Urban was a key part of DT’s rotation for Dan Quinn. His loss was compensated by the return of Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill during the second part of the basic part.
Outside of San, the 49ers, like the Cowboys, are relatively uninjured in the attack if Trent Williams can play on Sunday. If there is an advantage for both teams, it probably goes to Dallas. San Francisco lost to starting CB Jason Verrett due to Operation ACL, which ended in September. As a result, they are in a bit of losing weight and the secondary is considered the most vulnerable part of their defense.
Nevertheless, the players who are currently on the IR of both teams are mostly midfielders, whose absence has little impact on the field. And while both teams had several players on the COVID list at the beginning of the week, everyone is likely to see that they all leave unless they have negative tests.
It is clear that the two wild card opponents have successfully managed both injuries and illnesses to make it this far. In the next parallel, they won 17 competitions in their game to help each other. However, there is a clear contrast between these winnings. The Niners defeated the Los Angeles Rams to secure their place in the post-season, a much more difficult task than defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Dallas, which seated as many starters as possible to rest with a wild card game they had already locked. San Francisco didn’t have that luxury. As has been well discussed, the Cowboys’ decision to play with their starters most of the match against the reserves was risky, but they won the gamble without significant damage reported. And they rested for Tony Pollard, who was struggling with a leg injury. COVID is also forced to sit by Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs, and de facto way to protect them for the playoffs.
Two exceptionally healthy lists for this time of year will break up to find out who continues and whose season ends on Sunday. Not only will it attract a lot of interest, but it will revive the classic rivalry in the playoffs. Neither team has excuses for health. We hope this will be a fun victory for the Cowboys.