The San Francisco 49ers injury list was a short one coming out of Super Wild Card Weekend with wide receiver Jauan Jennings and defensive lineman Samson Ebukam sustaining ankle injuries that will have both players day-to-day this week. Heading into the team's first practice with defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw as the only additional player who was a limited participant in practice.
It's a rivalry renewed in the NFC Divisional Round, one that dates back to the 1970s and had its most recent chapter in the Wild Card Round of the 2021 season. Sunday marks the ninth playoff meeting between these two historic franchises, and the first one on home turf for the 49ers since the NFC Championship played in January of 1995.
Last season's Wild Card matchup was decided by just six points, and head coach Kyle Shanahan anticipates a similar level of competitiveness this time around.
"It was a big win for us. I hated how it ended, how close it got at the end," Shanahan said. "I thought we made a few mistakes that made it closer than it needed to be at the end, but not many. I don't relate it much to this year."
This time around, the showdown between these two teams comes under different circumstances with the 49ers entering the contest as the higher seed and enjoying home field advantage. That rivalry, however, is still alive and well.
"Whenever you play the Cowboys, just because the hype that they get... because of the team that they are, the talent they have, and all that," defensive lineman Nick Bosa said. "It's playoff football either way, so it's going to be a big deal but the past makes it even bigger."
There are several Texas-born players currently on San Francisco's roster who have experience on both sides of this historic back and forth between the Cowboys and 49ers. Many of them grew up as dedicated Dallas fans but have since let go of that fandom.
"I know the rivalry is a playoff kind of rivalry," defensive lineman Charles Omenihu said. "Ironically, we meet again, and this time they come here and hopefully it's the same result."
Omenihu and offensive lineman Spencer Burford both confirmed they'll have family and friends cheering them on from Texas that will be rocking red and gold on Sunday afternoon.
"I knew a lot about it (Cowboys-49ers rivalry)," Burford said. "I've got family members that go back and forth. They're fueled up, so this is going to be a very interesting game."
As much as tradition plays into the hype surrounding the game, it's the 2022 editions of these teams taking the field this weekend, and the Cowboys are coming off arguably their best performance of the year. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed 25-of-35 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to a 31-14 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Dak has always been a challenge," Shanahan said. "When you're a pure pocket passer who can make all the throws in there, read the defense really well and get the ball to the right spots and do it accurately (you're a challenge). That's why he's had the career he has and when things do break down, he's got a knack for how to get out of that pocket and make some off-schedule plays. That's why he has had such a successful career so far."