Eric Davis backs the San Francisco 49ers to take out Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys en route to a sixth championship.
The traditional rivals meet for the ninth time in the playoffs on Sunday in Santa Clara. Dallas leads the series 5-3, with the winner winning the Super Bowl five times.
Davis played in all three NFC Championships as the rivalry peaked at three consecutive NFC Championships in 1992 and 1994.
Dallas won the first two en route to back-to-back Super Bowls, but Davis was instrumental in the final installment. He posted a pick-six and forced Michael Irvin to fumble in the first quarter as the Niners sealed a 38-28 win before defeating the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.
The No. 2 Niners and No. 5 Cowboys met in the wild card round last year, with the 49ers winning 23-17 at AT&T Stadium. Davis chose San Francisco back then – and he sees no reason to change his choice.
Eric Davis backs the San Francisco 49ers to go all the way and win a sixth Super Bowl
The 49ers meet the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Divisional Round playoffs on Sunday
“Dallas is a very good football club. They have now played 18 games and won enough games to say ‘OK, this is a good football club’. The 49ers are a very good football team. Bottom line, they’re tougher,” he says.
“I said it last year, and I’ll say it again. As you get into later rounds, you’ll get tired of the body punches. The 49ers come at you in waves and it doesn’t stop. And it’s all game. And even if it’s close, if you’re ahead, they don’t care. They do not care. They will keep coming at you. And Dallas won’t be able to take the punishment they’ll take.
“Eventually the body will close for them and the Niners will retire like they did last year.
“I don’t think the Dallas Cowboys club is any better than the last time these guys saw each other postseason. The 49ers club is definitely better. So why should I expect a different result?’
San Francisco defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott enjoyed one of the games of his career when the Cowboys eliminated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild card round.
Prescott is the fifth quarterback to throw for four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the playoffs. But Davis says the 49ers have enough to stop him.
“You just have to put pressure on him and force him to make mistakes. He’s shown this season that when he’s pressured like that, he’s going to make mistakes and that’s what the 49ers will do,” he said.
“This is a defensive ball club and they were able to do that — put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. You think of Nick Bosa, but it’s more than that. You get pressure across the board.
“You have to make Dak Prescott uncomfortable in the bag. Get him to rush and make mistakes because he’s not going through his reads – and I think that’s going to be key.
“He watched the 49ers. He knows how much pressure they put on people. So I think he’ll feel it. And they will be able to force him to make some mistakes.
“The back end of the defense took advantage of faulty throws. You throw a bad ball, they will take advantage of it. Unlike the last few years, they’re getting the sales. So yeah, I think that’s the key to Dak making him uncomfortable and you force him to make some mistakes.
Ex-49ers star Davis previewed Sunday’s playoffs during an exclusive chat with
The 49ers have not lost a game since October and are on an 11-game winning streak. Backup Brock Purdy has been under center in the last six games, throwing 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Davis has been impressed with his development and balance since coming on for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I said the only thing we need is a quarterback who’s capable of getting the job done, unlike in 2020 when you didn’t have a man who could score, run the offense and do everything. And I was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got it. We now have a capable reinforcement. The team is fine.”
‘Along the way. Purdy has shown some agility. He has shown he can extend some games. Not only does he hold the position. He actually does what you want. You want the quarterback to make a few plays here and there.
“This is not a quarterback-centric offense. But you want the quarterback to make some plays.
“This offense is not based on your quarterback falling behind 45 times and throwing four 400 yards. The point here is to quickly get the ball into Aiyuk’s hands, Deebo’s hands, and Kittle’s hands. Let McCaffrey run this outer zone. It builds on that.
“Every once in a while Brock has shown he can extend the game, he can climb, he can run for the first time. He can escape a sack and still dump it at a Mitchell, and he can run it and score. So that’s what he put in the position.
He was impressed with the development of San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy
But his old side will face Dallas QB Dak Prescott, who was in good form
“It’s obvious he’s more athletic than Jimmy Garoppolo and that athleticism added a little bit of something the defense has to consider. And he is competent at his job. So the confidence, the game, just added to what they’ve already done.’
The 49ers defense is #1 overall, second against onslaught, and #1 in scoring but is 20th against pass.
While the Niners are averaging 77.7 rushing yards per game, the secondary has given up 223 yards per game.
Davis thinks it’s the best defensive line in the NFL today, but it’s nowhere near the best in franchise history.
‘No. no it’s good It’s really good – but it’s not the best,” he says.
“I played on some pretty good ones there. My 94 defense was really, really good. My 95 defense was really, really good. I mean, you know, 84’s defense was good. There were some really good defenses.
“I know because we have all the Pro Football Focus and all that stuff. Well, they didn’t chart any of those things when I was playing.
“I’m going to field my 94 defense – people don’t consider this defense to be one of the best defenses based on the stats. What they don’t take into account is that we haven’t played 8-10 games this season even in the fourth quarter. The backups played. We beat teams so badly that our starters didn’t play on both sides of the ball!
Davis believes they have the best defensive unit in the NFL today (pictured: 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw)
“Most of the second half we got 10 snaps and the backups played. So people look at the stats and say, “Well, they have this team that didn’t give up that many yards or that many points.” Well, our games were over at halftime. We were that good!
“So that’s a great, great defense. This team isn’t as talented across the board as some of the others. It’s very good to have the opportunity to be great and they can put a stamp on their greatness and join the fray by winning a championship. You have to win a championship to even get into the fight.”
And Davis believes the current crop will do just that.
“This is a special team. This is a Super Bowl roster. This is a Super Bowl team. They have all the elements in place and I don’t see anything stopping them. I just don’t really see it.
“This is a championship team. So it will be very difficult for them not to win everything. I just have to play the games.’