A week after the Hall of Fame Game whet our appetites, football is back in earnest. The San Francisco 49ers are looking to keep the momentum going after closing out their 2017 campaign on a hot streak. Jimmy Garoppolo led San Francisco to five straight victories to finish out the regular season, and he looked like he was worth the second-round pick the 49ers gave up in order to acquire him from the New England Patriots. We are likely to see Garoppolo for just a series or two against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, night, but he should see some action.
NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting Odds (Courtesy of BetDSI)
San Francisco 49ers Outlook
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is going to want to see his offense continue to come together in the preseason. The two biggest pieces, Garoppolo and wide receiver Pierre Garcon, joined the team just last season. However, they did not see any game action together as Garcon was sidelined in November and December because of a neck injury he suffered in late October.
Garoppolo was able to establish a rapport with Marquise Goodwin last season, and Shanahan is likely to want to see at least a series or two with all three players on the field. Additionally, the 49ers will probably want to see offseason acquisition Jerick McKinnon put in a little bit of work at the running back position.
That should give the 49ers an advantage in this situation. There is quite a bit of unfamiliarity on the offense, and Shanahan is likely to use preseason more than most coaches in order to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Dallas Cowboys Outlook
The Cowboys don’t have the same offensive concerns as the 49ers heading into the season. Jason Garrett is entering his eighth season as head coach of the franchise and this will be the third straight season that Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have worked together in the backfield.
Garrett didn’t play either Prescott or Elliott in Dallas’ first preseason game last year, and it seems unlikely that he would change his approach this season.
That means Cooper Rush is likely to start the game for the Cowboys, and we should see a whole lot of Mike White, too. White was taken in the fifth round of this year’s draft out of Western Kentucky, and he still has a lot to learn. He only rarely took snaps under center during his time with the Hilltoppers, and he will need to work on making his reads while dropping back to pass. Additionally, he is one of the most immobile quarterbacks we have seen in recent years. Expect to see him struggle quite a bit here.
The 49ers are a no-brainer to cover the spread in this one, even though laying the hook is a bit of a worry. They are likely to play their starters and second-stringers for longer than the Cowboys, and San Francisco has more to prove than its counterpart.
The over is a good play too. Referees are going to do their best to enforce the new helmet rule during the preseason to make sure players know what to expect once the regular season starts, and that should lead to higher-scoring games than usual in the preseason.
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