Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was once again surprised to learn that his team is an underdog going into a big game.
And he once again seems willing to embrace that role.
During his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, McCarthy was informed that the Cowboys are four-point underdogs going into their Divisional Round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, and it seemed to leave him a little taken aback.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on @1053thefan on Dallas being an underdog vs. the 49ers on Sunday: “We’re the underdog? By 4? Wow. OK. Divisional round, so, no, we’re very confident. I think there’s an underdog in all of us as you thrive and strive through this business.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 20, 2023
Four points seems to be the pretty common line across most sportsbooks (OddsChecker has the spread as four points).
Earlier this year, McCarthy made the comment that "we're nobody's underdog" when the Cowboys were listed as underdogs before their Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys ended up winning that game, 22-10, with Cooper Rush at quarterback.
The Cowboys not only won 12 games during the regular season, but are also coming off one of their best performances of the season in a dominant 31-14 Wild Card run against the NFC South Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dak Prescott threw for four touchdowns while the Cowboys defense dominated Tom Brady and a Buccaneers offense that looked awful and out of sync all night.
They are going to get a significantly tougher test on Sunday in San Francisco.
Even though the 49ers are playing with a third-string quarterback (Brock Purdy), it is at least understandable as to why they are the betting favorites. San Francisco won 13 games during the regular season (one more than Dallas), is at home, has assembled one of the league's best rosters around their quarterback, and is also coming off of a dominant Wild Card round win against the Seattle Seahawks. Given all of that, it is not a surprise to see them as favorites.
Purdy has been one of the NFL's biggest surprises this season, with the 49ers going 6-0 (including playoffs) since he's become the starter. But he is also going to face one of his toughest challenges this week going against a Dallas defense that is not only one of the NFL's best, but also boasts a potential defensive player of the year in linebacker Micah Parsons. This will be by far the best defense he has faced.
The added motivation of a team with that much talent on defense will add to Purdy's daunting task of playing well and leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship game.
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