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49ers enjoy slim statistical edge over Cowboys, but it can be overcome

Oscar Wilde once said “Life imitates art” and for this season’s Dallas Cowboys it couldn’t be more true.  In many ways, this season has mirrored last season. The Cowboys finished both campaigns with a 12-5 record and as destiny would have it, they faced off with the San Francisco 49ers in the postseason.  However, unlike last season, the Cowboys are the wild-card team and the 49ers are the team that is the favorite and hosting the game.

The Cowboys kicked off their postseason run with an impressive 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Entering the game the team faced questions about playing on natural grass, the drought between road playoff wins and even the record against Tom Brady. When the final seconds dripped off the clock, all of those were answered with resounding confirmation this team is resilient and unafraid of a challenge.

Enter the San Francisco 49ers, and boy are they a challenge. They have a formidable defense, one of the top scoring offenses in the league and a bevy of weapons they can attack a defense with. Taking a step back from the physical talent, they are a well coached team led by Kyle Shanahan, one of the best offensive minds in the game, and by one of the most revered defensive minds in the league in coordinator Demeco Ryans.

Each week we open up the Advanced Stat Notebook to analyze how each team ranks in EPA, DVOA, ANY/A and Toxic Differential. These four key metrics have a high correlation to win probability.

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