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."
The guys have even more reaction to Deflategate and if this is actually a showdown between Bill and Roger.
Tom E. Curran calls the boys during his layover in Denver and gets right into the Deflategate craziness. Tom talks about his knowledge of the situation including his thoughts on if the NFL was indeed trying to set up and catch the Pats in the act. He gets into the relationship between Belichick and the league office, Belichick and Kraft and the actual game on Super Bowl Sunday.
Greg and Steve discuss the Deflategate debacle with callers and give their theories as to what went down in Foxboro last week against the Colts. Both guys think that Pats may be guilty of doing something to the balls, but that so do most other teams. Will Belichick and Brady be punished? Not if the NFL doesn't have proof, which it's looking more and more like they don't.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
The Red Sox have taken over Foxwoods and Red Sox Manager John Farrell sat down with Mut and Bradford to talk about the roster and how the 2015 season is looking.
Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and 3B Pablo Sandoval sat down with Mut and Bradford. Joe Kelly had a few interesting proclamations. First he said that 95% of pitchers use some sort of grip enhancer, and then he said he was going to win the Cy Young. Pablo leaned over and promised 10 HR's, explaining to Joe that the trick is to set the bar low.
Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.
Pierre McGuire joins Lou, Christian and Tim to discuss the resurgent Bruins, the emergence of David Pastrnak, and former Boston College stand-out Johnny Gaudreau looking to trademark the name 'Johnny Hockey.'
We get our state of the B report from NESN's Jack Edwards, right in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and hot return for David Pastrnak.
Tom Brady joined the show before his trip to Phoenix.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys opened the show by discussing Belichick's presser Saturday.
Patriots WR Julian Edelman told MFB "It just goes to show how smart our coach is, that he would do a full, high-school science experiment." He also spoke about Super Bowl 49 and what the Patriot wide-outs need to do to beat a talented Seattle secondary.
Bill Belichick delivered a press conference for the ages, in an attempt to clear up some issues regarding "Deflate-gate."
The guys react to comments made by Former Carolina Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney
We get the national perspective on Deflategate and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.
We discuss deflategate and move beyond it for some game talk with Tom E Curran of CSNNE
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart of PFW continue the dialogue and try and find some sanity in this sea of madness.
A caller named Jumbo from California raises a question that hasn't been talked about too much, what happens if it's determined that the Patriots aren't found responsible for the deflation of the footballs?
Mut and Lenny continue talking and taking calls on deflategate, as well as hearing the sound from Kirk Minihane's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor.
Mut and Lenny are talking deflategate and what impact it could have on the Patriots organization.
Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.
Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.
We get the national perspective on Deflategate and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.More from this show
Tim Hasselbeck joined the show to give his expertise on deflate gate.More from this show
We discuss deflategate and move beyond it for some game talk with Tom E Curran of CSNNEMore from this show