CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason, speaking with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning, said he foresees the Patriots beating the Ravens on Sunday in the AFC championship game. Esiason said Tom Brady has a renewed intensity and will lead New England back to the Super Bowl.
"He didn't have a great game against Baltimore in the playoffs a couple of years back. He did not have a great game last year against the New York Jets in the playoffs. But this is a different Tom Brady," Esiason said. "And I've been using this kind of theme over the last month or so, about how Tom said last year after the Jet loss [that] it was the worst loss of his career. And I think it's fueled a very competitive Tom Brady.
"[Chad] Ochocinco made mention of that last week in some interview -- I forget where it was -- that he has never seen a quarterback so intense in practice. Well, I extrapolate that as saying here's a guy that is extremely -- I mean, extremely -- determined to get back to the Super Bowl and win the game, if for nothing else than to cement a legacy that will be on par of Joe Montana's if he's able to do it."
Added Esiason: "He's always been a very competitive player, you can see that when he plays. But the last few weeks and the way that he's played and some of the things that have come out of the New England locker room this past week, he has taken it to another level. It's almost as if he is obsessed with winning the Super Bowl, which is exactly the level of commitment that you need in order to do it. And maybe he's recognizing that he has a very special team around him and this is the year it's going to get done again."
The Patriots came out and took it to the Broncos right from the opening snap Saturday.
"When I watched the game on Saturday night, when you see the Patriots come out and play like that offensively, there was a determination there," Esiason said. "It was almost like they were pissed that they were playing against Tim Tebow, who got all the headlines going into the game. And it's about us making sure everybody remembers that we're still here. I don't necessarily really feel like that's their motivation, but that was something to behold. That was vintage Tom Brady in his finest hour. He probably played as well Saturday night, against a team that he should have played well against, as any game we've ever seen him play.
"That level of intensity is there for the offense. I thought that the defense met it for the first time in a long time this year, where they really came to play, and they were saying, 'There's no way that Tim Tebow's coming into this building and beating us.' Now they're going to have to have the same kind of mindset with Joe Flacco. And this is going to be a much tougher game. Don't think for one moment that it won't be. Baltimore presents so much different challenges defensively."
With the New England offensive line also coming off perhaps its best game, the Patriots appear to be peaking at the right time.
"If the Patriots defense can do what they did against Denver, and do what Houston did yesterday to Joe Flacco, then I don't see how the Ravens can stay with the Patriots offense," Esiason said. "This is Tom Brady, this is the guy that's going to be standing back in the pocket. And if you ask me, maybe the most impressive performance -- other than Tom's six-touchdown performance on Saturday night -- is that of the offensive line of the Patriots. Tom might have gotten hit maybe once or twice in that game. That's what a healthy offensive line can do for you."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On the Patriots routing Tim Tebow and the Broncos: "Listen, that was a scrimmage. They were playing against a kid that's not ready for prime time yet. If you look at the Denver Broncos, they lost four out of their last five games. Their offense was terrible in those games, with the exception of the Pittsburgh game; Tim made some plays. But he was not ready to compete on a level that you need to compete at in order for them to win on Saturday night."
On the Patriots' resurgent defense: "I thought the Patriots defense played great on Saturday night. It was probably the best performance that we had seen all year. They really ramped up the intensity, it seemed to me. There were a lot more guys rallying to the football. [Rob] Ninkovich had a great first half. [Gerard] Warren and [Vince] Wilfork played their asses off in the middle."
On the aging Ravens defense: "They're not the players that they once were; nobody ever is. But I will say this: Ray Lewis made some great plays yesterday. In watching how he was hitting Arian Foster, somebody 15 years younger than him. I think about Ray Lewis and I think about it in conjunction with my own career. My last game was against him. I think it was Ray Lewis' second year. And that's when I realized, I said, 'Oh, my God. I don't necessarily know that I belong on the field with this kind of player out here.' I had never seen anybody like him. Now, he's not that player that he was some 14 years ago, but I'll tell you what, he's still a very formidable foe. And the one thing that he knows, is he knows how to communicate with the guys around him. In other words, nothing that the Patriots throw at them I think will surprise him simply because he will have the presence and he will have the poise to be able to react to it. I just don't think he has the speed that he used to have."
On the surging Giants: "They're playing so well right now, it's scary. The fact is is that they are healthy at the right time. And they do have such an athletic defensive line that when they're on their game, they can make plays. They can make plays like stripping the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands -- that's how smart Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are. This is still a team that has a penchant for giving up big plays. … Don't be surprised if San Francisco gives them a hell of a game. I think it's going to be a really close game."
One of our favorite segments every week is when we get the chance to talk to the playmaker, Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
The guys asked Patriots LB Jerod Mayo about Tom Brady's mobility and athleticism. In his response, Jerod called Tom "a cerebral quarterback" and said he'd rather have a guy who runs a 4.8 in the right direction than a guy who runs a 4.3 in the wrong direction.
We get the coach's take on all things Patriots as the Patriots roll the Jaguars and head into the bye week at 3-0
Sam Packard is joined by his brother Nick, as he breaks down his favorite moments from Celtics Media Day. Sam then tries to compare each member of the Celtics roster to a character on The Wire, with varied results.
Sam Packard is joined by Jared Weiss of CLNSRadio.Com to talk about trading Bradley and the upcoming Celtics Media Day.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
We check in for a final time this season with Red Sox interim manager Torey Luvollo as look ahead to 2016 with him.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart who had his first career multi home run game as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 10-4 and extend their winning streak to a season high 5 games.
Joe and Dave talk with Jackie Bradley Jr. after he hit a 2 run home run and made two leaping catches as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-1 tonight.
DJ Bean joins Butch Stearns and Rob Bradford in studio with the pre-season ending to discuss the upcoming season's line combinations and the changes made in the offseason.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
Which producer lost weight? And which one gained weight?
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
Bobby calls in from the streets to talk about gang life and gun control.
With the emergence of the young players for the Red Sox this season, they're starting to look like they can be competitive next season. The guys discuss this and talk more about whether Farrell should be the manager next season when he gets healthy.
Leaks have come out over the last few days that John Farrell will return to the Red Sox when he gets healthy, but is this the right decision? Glenn, Lou and Christian discuss whether or not his job should be safe.
It looked like Ben Roethlisberger was on his cell phone during last night's Thursday Night Football game against the Ravens. Should this be a big issue? Do Patriots fans have reason to be upset that the NFL isn't making this a big deal?
A player that was suspended for PED use is really the top candidate for baseball's comeback player of the year? How is that possible? We discuss it.
We wrap up the week with some of the best sound bites that you may have missed.
Chris Villani and John Tomase discuss Tom Brady's suspension getting overturned by Judge Richard Berman and discuss in hindsight how obvious this should have been.
Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola discuss the Thursday federal court decision to overturn Tom Brady's DeflateGate punishment.
Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola discuss Jackie Bradley Jr, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and who should play where. Also, the current outfield in context with Sox history.
Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable take a look back at the 2015 season for the Boston Red Sox and their affiliates, including who the guys think should be classified as the team's Top 10 prospects. Also, a check in with play-by-play voices this year in Pawtucket, Portland, Salem, and Greenville as well as Ken's one-on-one interview with Offensive Player of the Year Sam Travis.
Jerry is joined by former sports reporter turned professional chef Jen Royle to discuss her upcoming fight for Haymakers For Hope.
We discuss the woes of Chelsea and Liverpool and the Revs rebounding to push into the playoffs. Plus the book on YoungBen is very flattering.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk look at the talented father-son duo.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Ben Roethlisberger sidelines phone story... is it a big deal? Are Patriots fans over-reacting? What would happen if this were the Patriots with a phone on the sidelines? Should we be the 'bigger men' and just move on? We discuss.More from this show
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.More from this show