Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday with guest hosts Kirk Minihane and Rob Bradford to talk about news from around the NFL.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a left shoulder issue, but there have been varying reports about the extent of the injury.
"I'm sure it's something," King said. "But I doubt sincerely it's something remotely serious that will either threaten his ability to play in this game or to succeed in the game."
Asked for his postseason prediction, King listed the Patriots and Steelers as his AFC favorites.
"What I'm thinking of right now, regardless of whether Pittsburgh is second or fifth [seed], I like a Pittsburgh-New England AFC championship game," he said. "I just can't quite figure outright now who I like to win that game. … If I see Ben Roethlisberger gimping around like Walter Brennan this weekend against the Browns, I'm probably going to like New England. But if I see him looking like 88 percent of Ben Roethlisberger, then I may like Pittsburgh. I need to see him. And I need to see how healthy that defense is. I need to see how LaMarr Woodley is doing, and all that. So, there's some important questions.
"I think the really interesting angle from the Patriots' point of view -- not that you're necessarily going to see it this weekend -- but I continue to be very interested to see how they adapt to life without Andre Carter, and a guy who had become a real pass-rush threat. That's the thing that interests me the most out of their game this weekend. And obviously making sure that Brady is OK. I really want to see what kind of pass rush they can generate against the Bills this weekend."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On the job security of Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett: "I don't think either coach in this game is coaching for his job. I'd be stunned -- barring a 48-0 loss and a game that his player quit on him or something like that -- I'd be stunned if Coughlin were in any trouble whatsoever. I think the only reason he might leave is of his own volition. But I get no indication of those close to him or listening to him over the last few weeks that he wants to do anything in his life other than to continue to coach this team. He loves the team. He loves being the coach of the New York Giants. And I don't think that either John Mara or Steve Tisch, the co-owners of this team, have any intention of getting rid of him.
"All the stuff you've heard about Jason Garrett and could he be in trouble. It's the silliest controversy I've ever heard in my life. That encompasses a lot of controversies. He's in the first year of a four-year contract and his team is playing for the division title on the last day of the season. Stop being silly. Focus on something that actually has a chance to happen."
On Romeo Crennel's status with the Chiefs: "I think if he wins this week, he probably will survive. If he doesn't win, then it may be a bit of a question. Scott Pioli knows two things: That Romeo Crennel is a great -- not a good, but a great soldier who believes after growing up in the New York Giants system … he believes in that division of labor. And that's exactly the way Pioli wants to run it in Kansas City. The coach will coach, and he'll coach the players who the GM gets for him. So, I think in a lot of ways that's a comfort with Pioli. He knows what he has in him. If Scott Pioli feels like he can get an offensive coordinator to basically resuscitate Matt Cassel's career -- like Josh McDaniels, if McDaniels comes free out of St. Louis -- if that can happen, I think that even increases Romeo's chances of getting the job."
On Sunday's Ravens-Bengals game: "I picked Cincinnati, but I don't have a great feel about them. I picked them in part because Baltimore's really struggled on the road, in part because their offense really is struggling. I mean, struggling massively. .. They've got some real problems headed into the playoffs. I mean, real problems. That's one of the reasons why I just don't trust them in the playoffs. I don't trust them Sunday."
On Tim Tebow's future with the Broncos: "I think Tim Tebow has done enough -- barring a Buffalo-like debacle Sunday -- he's done enough right now to enter the offseason as the starting quarterback of this team. Here's the other problem: Where Denver's going to be picking -- let's say they drop out of the playoffs and they're picking 17th in the first round … is there a quarterback who John Elway is going to love enough to take there to come in and challenge Tebow and maybe even Brady Quinn this offseason to be the quarterback of this team? I don't see it. So, I think Tebow by his really good half-year streak before the last couple of weeks has done enough to be the quarterback. But I do think if they sort of somersaulted out of the playoffs this weekend and lost badly to Kansas City, he might have some competition for that job."