When the Cowboys come into Levi’s Stadium Sunday, the 49ers will be the underdogs.
Over the past two games, San Francisco has been abysmal, losing consecutive games to the Panthers and Seahawks while being outscored 83-45.
The 49ers offense has been sluggish and its defense porous. Oddsmakers have made the 2-1 Cowboys three-point favorites over the 1-2 Niners in a game set to kick off at 1:25 p.m.
But over the past couple of years, the 49ers have played better at home. They opened the season with a 28-0 victory over the Rams at Levi’s Stadium and four of their five victories in 2015 came at home. In 2015-16 the 49ers have allowed an average of 33.5 points per game on the road and a league-best 15 points per game at home.
Now, the 49ers hope they can turn things around with consecutive games on their own field against the Cowboys and Cardinals.
“Playing on the road is tough in this league, but everybody has to do it so we can’t make any excuses,” safety Antoine Bethea told Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “To be a great team, you’ve got to win on the road. Obviously, we had two losses on the road, we’ve got two home games coming up, so this Dallas game at home will be big for us.”
But, the Cowboys won’t be an easy target. The offense, with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, have a balanced attack. And the Dallas defense ranks 10th against the run, countering San Francisco’s strong point, with Carlos Hyde.
The 49ers are hoping for more production from quarterback Blaine Gabbert to get the offense rolling earlier than in the first three games of 2016. Gabbert is averaging just 5.5 yards per pass attempt, the worst mark among NFL starters. The 49ers have scored just 27 points in the first three quarters so far. The offense also has gone three-and-out on almost 35 percent of drives so far, the second-worst mark in the league.
But, Kelly says all the problems aren’t Gabbert’s fault.
“If it was on one guy, that would be an easy fix,” Kelly told reporters this week. “But it’s not on one guy and that’s why we feel real confident with him moving forward.”