The San Francisco 49ers picked up a big win in week one, putting themselves up and the Seattle Seahawks down in the division. It's the obvious answer, but the only thing that can get better is more winning and better execution, and who better to do it against than the team's unofficial biggest rival, the Dallas Cowboys? "Unofficial" is only the identifier because the Cowboys aren't in the NFC West, but the teams' battles throughout the eighties and nineties are well-documented, and illustrate an impressive number of ups and downs, worthy of either a fine roller coaster or perhaps one of Brandon Marshall's romantic relationships.
Dallas, to their credit, didn't look awful in week one, despite a losing effort to the New York Jets. They executed offensively, and were ... showing a lot of promise defensively. That's the nicest way to put it, because it was simply an ugly game. Beautiful passing plays to Jason Witten would be followed up by ridiculous judgement calls on Tony Romo's part, like passing directly to Darrelle Revis in a game-changing situation.
DeMarcus Ware absolutely obliterating New York Jet offensive linemen would be followed by the Dallas secondary popping off for a drink on third down, giving up huge chunks of yardage to guys like LaDainian Tomlinson and Santonio Holmes.
It was either two really good teams making eachother look bad, two marginally good teams showing their weaknesses, or two teams significantly trying to out-suck the other. In the end, Romo made the big mistake and the Cowboys lost the game. But if the Jets are at all as good as advertised this season, then Dallas should be a handful for the 49ers.
The 49ers that failed to execute offensively against the Seahawks, which means whatever you think it should. They moved the ball in crucial situations and were able to coax more than a day's work out of kicker David Akers, but one has to feel that they'll need to show an awful lot more execution and variation on offense to best their week two opponents. Jim Harbaugh's "blue collar" offense probably won't cut it, even if the Cowboys remain mistake-prone.
Defensively, though, they stand a solid chance at a couple of turnovers, especially if Romo remains the kind of person who enjoys fumbling or floating a football directly into the hands of defensive backs. They're actually quite bad habits for quarterbacks to have, somebody should probably tell him.
But seriously, the 49ers will likely need to rely on their defense again. The Jets pass rush yielded four sacks, forced three fumbles and an interception, while only allowing 64 yards rushing. That's the kind of thing the 49ers need to do, and with how Justin Smith and Ray McDonald looked in week one, it's a distinct possibility. Now, hopefully Carlos Rogers and the rest of the secondary won't allow something like 400 yards receiving like the Jets did.
The Cowboys lost in week one just like the Seahawks, but it's likely going to be a much tougher game for the 49ers, even at Candlestick Park. Hopefully Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman are cooking up something good offensively, because they can't bet on Ted Ginn Jr. to break sequential kickoff and punt return touchdowns.
Or maybe they can. We'll see.