49ers RB Frank Gore vs. Cowboys run defense
The Cowboys had a terrific effort versus the Washington Redskins’ Clinton Portis last week (68 yards), but this unit has had on-again, off-again performances in the last month. Dallas allowed 180 yards to the St. Louis Rams and followed that with 48 yards allowed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They allowed 200 yards to the New York Giants two weeks ago and then 92 versus Washington. Gore is a do-it-all back with 834 yards rushing and 325 yards receiving on 35 catches. He will be a challenge for the linebackers Bradie James and Zach Thomas. Which unit will show up?
Cowboys WR Roy Williams vs. 49ers CB Walt Harris
Williams had three catches for 36 yards in his first game with quarterback Tony Romo. They are still in the feeling-out process, but it’s coming along. Williams is dangerous after the catch, and the Cowboys have tried to get the ball to him quickly. Intriguingly, this matchup has already taken place once this season. Harris was assigned to shadow Williams when the 49ers played the Detroit Lions in Week 3. Harris did a masterly job on Williams, holding him to just two receptions for 18 yards. Harris seems to be at his best when he’s able to use his physical style against big receivers. Again, Harris will probably draw Williams, as Nate Clements is likely to cover Terrell Owens.
49ers TE Vernon Davis vs. Cowboys defense
Davis, who caught 52 passes last season, has been nowhere near as productive this season. He has just 18 receptions for 216 yards. However, the 49ers are looking for Davis more when they’re near the goal line. In the past two games, Davis has just two receptions, but both have been for touchdowns. In the past two weeks, primarily against the Giants’ Kevin Boss and Washington’s Chris Cooley, the Cowboys have given up a combined 10 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown to opposing tight ends.