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Cowboys 2-Time All-Pro Out, Key Starter’s Status Uncertain vs. 49ers

The Dallas Cowboys will be without nine-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Jason Peters when the team squares off against the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys also listed starting safety Jayron Kearse as questionable for the Divisional Round clash with the Niners. Kearse is dealing with a sprained MCL the defender sustained against the Buccaneers.

It is worth noting that Kearse has been emphatic about his chances to play, but the veteran will be need to be cleared medically in order to suit up in San Francisco. The good news is that Kearse and Peters are the only Dallas players with an injury designation meaning the Cowboys are relatively healthy as they take on the 49ers. With Peters sidelined, veteran Connor McGovern will slide back into the starting lineup at left guard with Tyler Smith at left tackle, per ESPN’s Ed Werder.

“The Cowboys officially ruled out OT Jason Peters, meaning rookie Tyler Smith returns to LT and Connor McGovern at LG,” Werder tweeted on January 20, 2023. “Safety Jayron Kearse is questionable with a knee injury but has told media he’s 100 percent playing.”

Kearse Said He Is ‘100%’ Playing vs. 49ers

Kearse has been one of the key players on a thriving Dallas defense notching 77 tackles, seven tackles for loss, five pass deflections, one interception and a forced fumble during his 14 regular-season appearances in 2022. The former Clemson standout attempted to ease Cowboys fans’ worries about his status in San Francisco.

“Yeah, like I said, I’m doing my rehab, doing the things that I got to do to put myself in the best position to go out there and help the team,” Kearse told reporters on January 18. “…Nah, it’s just I’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries all year and able to get through ’em and just continue to play ball. So, it’s nothing different, especially being playoff time. I’m only guaranteed four more quarters.”

Peters Could Miss the Majority of the Playoffs

Dallas is hoping this will not be the team’s last game of the season, but the Cowboys could be without Peters again if the franchise is able to reach the NFC Championship. ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that Peters may need “a couple of weeks” to recover from the hip injury that will sideline the former All-Pro against the Niners.

“Jason Peters’ status for the Niners a little more dicey than Jayron Kearse,” Archer tweeted on January 17. “He could need a couple of weeks with this hip injury suffered vs. Bucs. That means Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern continue as the left side of the line.”

McCarthy Surprised by Cowboys’ Underdog Status vs. 49ers

The Cowboys have fluctuated from 3.5-point to four-point road underdogs against the 49ers, per FanDuel. This appeared to be news to head coach Mike McCarthy who was surprised to hear the Cowboys were underdogs in Vegas.

“So we’re the underdog?” McCarthy noted during a January 20 interview with 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan and RJ.” “By four? Wow. Okay. …We’re very confident, I think there’s an underdog in all of us. As you thrive and strive through this business –

“…I’m right there with Micah [on being the underdog]. Let’s just go with that one.”

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