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 Rob Gronkowski's meeting with the media on Friday. Gronk said he doesn't anticipate changing the way he plays, noting that he wants to "keep smashing and dashing."
Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.
We return to our weekly segments with the one and only Peter King of MMQB and NBC's Football Night in America.
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.
Tim Kurkjian joins the program to discuss the Red Sox options at the trade deadline.
Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to discuss David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia's struggles, and Jon Lester's contract.
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
John, Gerry, and Steve DeOssie discuss Tom Brady's impact on the rest of the Patriots, plus Steve tells tales from his old days as a NFL linebacker
A whale watch boat is stranded overnight in Boston Harbor
Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront certainly put on quite the pitching performance, as the Red Sox were trounced by the Jays. Does this change the team's approach to the trade deadline?
MFB discuss a Peter King article that suggests many NFL coaches and assistant coaches have felt increasing pressure over big-money fantasy football players. Christian also weighs in specifically on how his knowledge of game-plans resulted directly in him winning his first season as a fantasy football player.
The Sox lost 14-1 as Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront both had awful performances. On the heels of the loss, rumors began to fly regarding Jon Lester and John Lackey possibly being traded.
Tim Kurkjian joins the program to discuss the Red Sox options at the trade deadline.
We talk about the latest news surrounding Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Could he be dealt to the Dodgers?
We talk about four of the biggest mistakes the Red Sox have made over the past 30+ years.
We discuss the return of Rob Gronkowski, his comments to the media today, and what a healthy (or unhealthy) Gronk will mean for the 2014 Patriots.
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.
Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.
With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.
A compelling case can be made that July 24, 2004, represents as significant a landmark as any date in modern Red Sox history. On that day, a memorable brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees served as a catalyst for an epic 10-9 walkoff victory for the Red Sox over New York and indomitable closer Mariano Rivera, a game cited by many members of the 2004 team as pivotal in Boston's first championship run in 86 years. Ian Browne, who covers the Red Sox for MLB.com and authored Idiots Revisited, discusses the landmark game.
Rob gave the latest on Jon Lester trade talks and the flap between Ortiz and the Rays.More from this show
Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.More from this show
We talk about the latest news surrounding Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Could he be dealt to the Dodgers?More from this show