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."
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the start of Patriots training camp. Players began arriving for camp on Wednesday, and Bill Belichick broke the news that Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play.
Tom "Eugene" Curran joins the guys to discuss how the Patriots look coming out of OTAs. Then Christian and Lou discuss the Patriots playbook scandal.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Tom Brady's work in mini-camp and his response to recent criticism of his play.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
We check in with the manager of the local nine to get his take on the Sox recent hot run, the performance of the pitching staff and much more.
With the non-waiver trade deadline a mere 8 days away, Buster talks about the market for guys like Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, Koji Uehara, and the injuries Dustin Pedroia might be dealing with.
David Ross joined the show to talk a little bit about his foot injury, but mostly about some of the other guys on the team. He spoke about Jackie Bradley Jr's defense, Pedroia's leadership, and how well Christian Vasquez is playing.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Jake Peavy's 1-9 record this season.
The triumphant return of Kirk Minihane.
Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher puts peanuts in his Diet Coke, and Tim learns that this is actually normal,... in the south. Lou learns that he can get his yard trimmed up nice by goats. Christian sparks a conversation about the stupidest things ever done in the name of love.
We discuss Sidney Rice's retirement from the NFL, and the greater issue, which is concussions and head injuries in the NFL.
We tackle four topics all revolving around predictions and concerns for the Patriots entering the 2014 season.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
Danny breaks down the Canelo vs Lara fight and the controversy. Mike Tyson's former trainer Ronnie Shields joins the show.
Rob Bradford is joined by Red Sox leadoff hitter Brock Holt, who since being inserted into the top spot in the batting order has been among the best leadoff men in baseball. Heading into Tuesday night, no other leadoff hitter has had more hits (77) since May 23, with Holt having played every inning of every game during that stretch.
This week, Sam Packard and Zach Geld talk about the Post-Pierzynski Red Sox. Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog, joins the program to analyze the Celtics off-season, and finally an over-eager discussion of fantasy football.