The Dallas Cowboys won their first playoff game since the 2018 season in the first round. Now, not only are the stakes higher with an NFC Championship Game appearance on the line, but the Cowboys get a chance to erase the demons from their first-round playoff loss a season ago to the San Francisco 49ers, giving them all the motivation in the world.

San Francisco is the hottest team in the NFL with 11 consecutive wins going back to the regular season and is a four-point favorite. Many in the media have pretty much locked it in that the 49ers will achieve victory. However, when Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons acknowledged all the negative talk and spoke on this much-anticipated matchup, his answer is exactly what fans would want to hear.

“If this is the three-headed dragon, we need to cut one of the heads off,” Parsons said. “Either way, you’re gonna meet them at some point. Are you gonna be ready for your moment? I’d rather it now than later.

“What everybody’s saying, we hear it, ‘No way the Cowboys are going to win.’ I think you should feed into it, you should love that stuff. When no one believes in you, that’s the best feeling. I really like being the underdog. It’s always a great story to tell.”

The Cowboys won 12 games for the second year in a row for the first time since the 1990s. While impressive, the Cowboys had periods during the season where they played down to inferior competition and lost games when they had comfortable leads.

San Francisco on the other hand hasn’t lost a game since falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in October, and this is with quarterback Brock Purdy, a seventh-round pick in 2022, appearing in nine regular season games with five starts. It’s the consistency of the 49ers and the up-and-down nature of the Cowboys that has caused more trust in the former to the masses, and rightfully so.

As talented as the Cowboys are, the 49ers have a slight edge in that department and present several matchup problems for Dallas on both sides of the ball. Parsons isn’t allowing that to get him out of his zone. Instead, he’s got tunnel vision on what he needs to do to be at his best.

“I don’t want to go out there and try to outcompete the 49ers,” said Parsons. “They’re gonna beat my ass if I play their game. I’m going to play my game. I’m gonna bring my strengths and what I bring to the table. They’re gonna bring their strengths. Let’s just battle it out.”

Parsons has made some of the best offensive tackles look silly in his two seasons with his amazing first-step quickness, power, and overall athletic prowess. This Sunday, Parsons will have one of the biggest challenges, going up against All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams who has been an anchor for 12 NFL seasons.

This matchup is critical for the Cowboys’ success on Sunday, and Parsons isn’t shying away from the moment.

“He’s one of the better tackles but that’s what I look for is best on best,” Parsons said. “So I want Trent’s best game ever, and he’s going to get my best game ever.”

There’s no way anyone could analyze this game and not do a comparison between Parsons and 49ers’ edge rusher Nick Bosa who led the league with 18.5 sacks this season. Parsons and Bosa finished tied for the most quarterback pressures in 2022, and in most people’s eyes, are the top two candidates for Defensive Player of the Year.

Parsons, much like his matchup with Williams, is chomping at the bit to show he’s the cream of the crop with Bosa on the other sideline.

“We’re going to put on a show,” said Parsons. “The point is, we’re an entertainment business, so we’re gonna put on a show of being the best players we can be, in dominant fashion… but what he does, it’s no factor on what I do. My goal is the Super Bowl.”

Parsons certainly showed that against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two-time first-team All-Pro tallied three tackles (two for loss), a sack, two pass breakups, two quarterback hits, and nine pressures. Simply put, Parsons had Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense in Alcatraz.

This Sunday against the 49ers is a much tougher and more significant hurdle to climb for Parsons and the Cowboys, and the young lion is prepared to hunt on a higher level.

“The bigger the stage, the bigger the player, right?” Parsons said.

Yes, Parsons. Now, it’s time to feast and advance.

Feature image via Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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