The stakes are naturally high for the championship-hungry Dallas Cowboys, which are set to host the San Francisco 49ers in a marquee wild-card battle on Sunday afternoon. After all, the franchise hasn't appeared in an NFC title game or won a Super Bowl since the 1995 season. Quite a lengthy drought.
And although the underdog 49ers, winners in seven of their last nine games, are receiving considerable love from analysts and bettors alike, Zach Gelb is bullish about the newly-crowned NFC East champions. He believes that the Cowboys will take care of business on home turf.
"I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the Cowboys -- I think Dallas is going to win," Gelb said during The Zach Gelb Show on Friday. "And sure, their running attack hasn't been as great as it was in the beginning of the season, and their line hasn't been as great as it was in the beginning of the season. Dak Prescott wasn't awesome down the stretch.
"But I think that defense, which has the ability to create turnovers, is going to make Jimmy G -- who vacillates between average and good -- there'll be more average play from Jimmy Garoppolo than good. I don't trust Jimmy Garoppolo. Even if you don't think Dak Prescott is deserving of $42 million per year, even if you don't think he's a great quarterback, he's a better QB than Garoppolo."
The Cowboys ended their regular season with a much-needed tune-up game, as Dak Prescott threw for 295 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in the team's 51-26 road victory over the Philadelphia Eagles' reserves last Saturday. Prescott's sixth year under center lacked in consistency, but he managed to rack up 4,449 passing yards and a career-best 37 scores across 16 games.
Dallas (12-5) and San Francisco (10-7), which haven't faced each other in the playoffs since the 1994 NFC championship game, are scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET. According to FiveThirtyEight projections, the Cowboys currently have a 69-percent chance to reach the divisional round but only a 13-percent chance to punch a ticket to Super Bowl 56.
Gelb's complete thoughts on the Cowboys-49ers game can be accessed in the audio player above.