CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Patriots, the NFL playoffs and the dysfunctional Jets.
Esiason predicts the Steelers will handle the Broncos, and the Texans will get past the Bengals this weekend, setting up a visit from the Steelers to Foxboro the following weekend.
"To me, [the Steelers have] the layup this week," he said. "They've got Tim Tebow, who obviously is in way over his head. Everybody knows that. It's been a nice story. But 6-of-22 [in Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Chiefs], the last three weeks he's been terrible. This is a layup for the Pittsburgh Steelers, even without Ryan Clark."
Asked what can go wrong for the Patriots this postseason, Esiason said: "Pittsburgh can go wrong for them. They are a damn good defense. And you know that. Nothing's changed for them. It's the same thing over the last 20 years. They're always going to have a good defense They're always going to give you an opportunity to win a football game."
Added Esiason: "I'm already calling it that it's going to be Pittsburgh and New England. And I think it's going toe a very, very tough game, especially with the way that New England defense has been playing. I know they got the turnovers last week against Ryan Fitzpatrick, but this is Ben Roethlisberger. This isn't a team that tends to throw the ball 45 times in a game. They're going to run it, they're going to keep it tight. And it's going to be a struggle for Tom [Brady] and his offense, simply because Pittsburgh is not intimidated by the New England Patriots one bit.
"I know from talking to Bill Cowher week in and week out, when they play a team like the Patriots they think the Patriots are a softer team, that they're more of a finesse team, that they're not a physical team. Pittsburgh loves being in games like that, because they want to impose their so-called will on the Patriots. I think that's where this thing is headed."
The Patriots fell behind 21-0 the past two weeks vs. the Dolphins and Bills before rallying to win both games. Esiason said the slow starts are understandable.
"Obviously, the last two weeks they haven't been [ready to play at kickoff]. Then again, their antennas haven't been up," Esiason said. "They still are human beings, even though they have the best coach in football. They all tend to, somewhere along the line, have flat moments. And I'm not just talking about the Patriots, I mean all teams. But they were playing against teams that are non-playoff teams. … My point being that they will be up and they will be ready to go no matter who they play, whether it be Pittsburgh or Cincinnati in their first playoff game. They will be ready to go. That I will assure you."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On the Jets' collapse and the team's future: "I think that Rex Ryan's ways have come back to haunt him. And Mike Tannenbaum, the general manager down here, has a lot of responsibility in this regard, because they have put a lot of bad guys together in this locker room. There's a good core of players for the New York Jets. But unfortunately, all it takes is one guy. And Rex Ryan giving Santonio Holmes the captain's 'C' on the chest was an absolute embarrassment. It's a slap in the face of all the good guys in that locker room.
"They have a major problem with him, because they're going to owe him $15 million guaranteed over the next two years if, in fact, they keep him on the roster next year. They can't cut him, I don't think. And I don't think anybody's going to want to trade for him. So, they've got themselves a handful.
"And then this morning in the paper, Jets fans don't want Mark Sanchez back. But this is the world of the Jets. It stays together for a little bit, and then all of a sudden it spirals out of control. And then they have a head coach that kind of exacerbates all of it."
On the possibility of Peyton Manning being traded to the Jets: "Everywhere you look, that's what they're saying. But first of all, we don't even know if Peyton's able to play. If Peyton is able to play and the new general manager and whoever they hire to run that team out there decides to go without Peyton Manning, then I'm sure that the Jets will be sniffing around. Because that's what the Jets do. They're trying to find their Tom Brady. They're trying to find their Aaron Rodgers. And I don't think in their mind they think that they feel like they've found the kid. If you watched Mark Sanchez the last month of the season, he was like a chihuahua standing on Madison Avenue and 36th Street entering the Midtown Tunnel, eyes bigger than you-know-what, and just so shaky."
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Peter Chiarelli joined the Sunday Skate crew to talk about the Bruins playoff push heading into the final handful of games of the regular season. Chiarelli talked about avoiding some of the overly negative feedback he gets while realizing that the team does have real issues. He discusses what went down at the trade deadline and if he was happy with the outcome, Lucic having a down year and underperforming, the salary cap and if he considers it as big of an issue as it's been made out to be and what the future holds for the team.
It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
The Sunday Skate crew gets the show going discussing the Bruins big, impressive victory over the NY Rangers yesterday. What can you take from that game? According to LB - Lyndon Byers - who called the guys from the road, not a lot. LB drops a dime on what was going on with the Rangers yesterday. DJ and Joe discuss Claude's lines and groupings and the importance of Ryan Spooner. They also get into Lucic, his contributions this year and if he can turn things around.
The latest feud between Shank and Papi was discussed.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.
John Farrell has named Clay Buchholz the starter for Tuesday's opener. Koji and Christian Vasquez are already ruled out. Vasquez on the 60 day DL.
Wrestlemania was a trial run for Super Bowl 50. More Christian dog stuff. Superintendent in Chief William Gross of the BPD deals with some idiotic protesters after the fatal shooting in Roxbury on Friday night.
Shawn Thornton is now a member of the Panthers, who come to town tomorrow night. Thornton spoke about Claude Julien's control of the Bruins locker room, and his own team playing his former team on Tuesday night.
As the testimony of Hernandez' fiancee wrapped up today, we checked in with attorney Michael McCann for all the latest developments and analysis.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed throughout the day.
We listen in on Adam Shefter's deflategate report on NFL Live on ESPN, and discuss when we can expect this whole mess to come to a head.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
Ben and Adam finish the odyssey that is the history of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemanias 21-30 are discussed and analyzed.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show