49ers hope to stay in contention in Sunday’s faceoff with Dallas Cowboys

49ers at Cowboys

When: Sunday, 10 a.m.

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

TV: KPIX (Ch. 5)

Records: 49ers (5-8), Dallas Cowboys (4-9)

Series: Cowboys lead 18-17-1

Last meeting: Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 147 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Cowboys rolled to a 40-10 victory over the Niners on Oct. 22, 2017, at Levi’s Stadium. The loss was the seventh straight to open the 2017 season for the 49ers.

About the 49ers: Surrendering two defensive touchdowns, the Niners lost to the Washington Football Team 23-15 in their second home game at Glendale, Ariz. The loss all but eliminated the 49ers from the playoffs, although there is a small sliver of hope. Losing to Dallas would put a nail in their coffin and make the 49ers just the second Super Bowl loser in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record (Carolina went 6-10 in 2016). … Rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk continues to show he will be a dynamic force in the offense. The first-round draft pick had season highs with 10 catches for 119 yards against Washington. His 10 receptions tied the team’s rookie record, set by Earl Cooper in 1980 and tied by Jerry Rice in 1985. … Despite his inconsistent performance, quarterback Nick Mullens will start for the sixth straight game, but C.J. Beathard could see action if that continues this week. … The 49ers have the second-most turnovers in the NFL with 25 (Denver has 29), including 18 over the last seven weeks. … Thanks to a stout defense, the 49ers lead the NFL in net yardage differential over the last two seasons. Over those 29 games, they have outgained their opponents by 2,217 yards, 307 yards better than the Los Angeles Rams. … Coach Kyle Shanahan said injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is unlikely to play in the final three regular-season games, while tight end George Kittle (broken foot) returned to practice this week on a limited basis. … Top wide receiver Deebo Samuel is out for the rest of the regular season with a strained hamstring.

About the Cowboys: Andy Dalton returned to Cincinnati and threw two TD passes as the Cowboys rolled past the Bengals 30-7. Dallas, despite having a worse record than the Niners, are still alive in the pitiful NFC East at 4-9. They are two games behind first-place Washington, but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with Washington. … The Cowboys’ defense provided the spark against the Bengals, recovering fumbles on each of Cincinnati’s first three possessions and converting them into 17 points. Former Niner Aldon Smith returned one of those fumbles for a TD. … Elliott had just 48 yards against the Bengals, but moved into third place on the Cowboys’ career rushing list with 6,237 yards. It will take him a few more seasons to endanger the top two — Tony Dorsett is second with 12,036 and Emmitt Smith first with 17,132. … Former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy, better known as coach of the Green Bay Packers, has come under fire during his first season as the Cowboys’ coach. This week, however, owner Jerry Jones said it was “ridiculous” to question McCarthy’s job security.

— Steve Drumwright, Special to The Examiner

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