NFC Championship


Dallas Cowboys (14-3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (15-2) Site: Candlestick Park, San Francisco. Time: 4 p.m. TV: Channels 11, 9.

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTEM (570 AM)

Line: 49ers by 4.

Last week: The 49ers beat the Redskins, 20-13, and the Cowboys beat the Eagles, 34-10, in NFC divisional-playoff games.

Last meeting: The 49ers beat the Cowboys, 24-6, in 1990, as Joe Montana passed for 290 yards and a touchdown. Troy Aikman threw for 96 yards and Emmitt Smith ran six times for 40 yards.

The series: The 49ers lead the regular-season series 9-5-1, but the Cowboys have a 3-1 edge in the four playoff games. The Cowboys' lone playoff loss was the last playoff meeting between the two teams in 1981, when Dwight Clark made The Catch.

On the sidelines: George Seifert of the 49ers, in his fourth season, has a 57-13 record. Jimmy Johnson, also in his fourth season, is 34-33.

What the 49ers have to do to win: Get a big day from Steve Young. If Young fumbles three times and throws a bad interception the way he did against the Redskins last weekend, the 49ers have little chance. But if you take away those four bad plays, Young was very effective. Young is the key for the 49ers because he adds a running dimension to the offense.

What the Cowboys have to do to win: Get a 100-yard rushing day from Emmitt Smith. No team with the rushing leader has won the Super Bowl, but Smith wants to change that. If he can run on the muddy field at Candlestick Park, the Cowboys can control the tempo of the game so the 49ers have to play the run and can't unleash their pass rush on Troy Aikman.

Injury report: Cowboys: Report no injuries. 49ers: DE David Wilkins (shoulder) is doubtful; DE Dennis Brown (leg-flu), CB Don Griffin (flu), S Dana Hall (hamstring-flu) are probable.

Weather: Rain is likely, possibly heavy at times. The likelihood of rain is 90 percent. Subtropical moisture feeding into the state and upper level disturbances have combined to produce the rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Outlook: The factor that's hard to handicap in this game is the condition of the field. The NFL brought in grass guru George Toma to resod it last week, but it's likely to rain this weekend, and that could easily turn the field into another quagmire. This could be the ultimate home-field advantage for the 49ers because a slow surface should negate the Cowboys' edge in speed. In any case, the 49ers playoff experience -- combined with the home-field advantage -- should give them the edge.

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