Micah Parsons isn't afraid of a brawl, and he knows the Dallas Cowboys are in for a fight in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs when the 49ers visit AT&T Stadium on Sunday.
On Wednesday during his media availability, the Cowboys rookie linebacker was told the 49ers' offense likes to play "bully ball." The Penn State product wasn't concerned by what promises to be a physical game between two old NFC rivals.
"I’m from Harrisburg where the bullies get bullied. There’s a bully in every gym," Parsons said, via Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. "At one point, it’s going to take somebody to stand up and fight. I ain’t ever back down from a challenge.”
With their ground-based attack, the 49ers want to punish opponents physically for 60 minutes, eventually breaking their will and forcing them into critical mistakes. Jimmy Garoppolo's thumb injury likely will force the 49ers to lean even more heavily on their running game.
Parsons, the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year, believes the Cowboys can match that physicality.
"I don’t think nobody’s gonna hand their equipment in and say, 'hey, we can’t beat the 49ers, let’s go home,'" Parsons said. "Nah. We’re gonna knuckle up and focus in on the details."
The 49ers and Cowboys present interesting matchups for one another.
The Cowboys ranked 16th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 112.8 yards per game on the ground and their linebackers generally struggle in pass coverage in the middle of the field, an area the 49ers like to attack with Garoppolo.
However, the Cowboys were second in the NFL in opponent interceptions thrown percentage (4.25 percent) and led the league in takeaways per game (2.0). The Cowboys' opportunistic secondary certainly will look to take advantage of an injured Garoppolo who has been known to let passes sail high and over the middle.
On the other side of the ball, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' high-powered passing attack will look to take advantage of a 49ers' secondary that has been susceptible to the deep pass this season.
Whoever wins Sunday will be the team that can impose its will and style of play on the other.
Get your popcorn ready for an old-school NFC brawl in Dallas. May the tougher team win.