Oh how the mighty 49ers-Cowboys rivalry has fallen.
The 49ers’ game Dec. 20 at Dallas just got booted out of the NFL’s marquee time slot – 5:20 pm on NBC’s Sunday Night Football – and into a 10 am date.
Here’s the catch, if you will, in why the 49ers-Cowboys matchup is not as attractive: they’ve combined to lose 16 of 24 games this season.
That’s a far cry from their battle for Super Bowl berths in the 1970, ’71, ’81, ’92, ’93 and ’94 seasons, including “The Catch” by Dwight Clark on Jan. 10, 1982 that sparked the 49ers’ dynasty.
So who gets top (or late-night) billing instead of them on Dec. 20?
The finally thriving Cleveland Browns (9-3), for their first time in 15 years since the NFL began flexing that prime-time window. They will visit the New York Giants.
Like the 49ers, the Giants are 5-7, but they’re tied for the NFC East lead with Washington, which is also 5-7.
The Cowboys (3-9) play this Sunday at the Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1)
The 49ers, who’ve lost four of their past five, host Washington this Sunday (1:25 pm) at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Neither of the 49ers’ final two regular-season games are slated for prime-time kickoffs: Dec. 26 at the Cardinals (1; 30 pm), and Jan. 3 vs. the Seattle Seahawks (1:25 pm) at likely State Farm Stadium if Santa Clara County’s ban on contact sports remains in effect and keeps Levi’s Stadium off limits.