Boomer Esiason of CBS Sports made his weekly Monday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan to talk about the Patriots' 31-21 victory over the Broncos.
The Patriots offense was clicking for much of Sunday's game. Esiason said the running game has taken this offense to new levels.
"I see a Tom Brady who is so in sync with his offensive coordinator, and the ability to call the plays quickly, and has wide receivers that are getting themselves open and making big plays down the field," Esiason said. "You combine that with [Stevan] Ridley and [Brandon] Bolden and [Danny] Woodhead and [Shane] Vereen, now all of a sudden you've got yourself an explosive offense that is as balanced as any offense in football. … They are, from a competent standpoint, playing as competently offensively as they have ever played. And that's because of the balance that they bring to the table now."
There were some negatives Sunday, including a failure to convert on fourth-and-5 from the Denver 37 in the fourth quarter, as the Patriots allowed the Broncos an opportunity to get back in the game. Esiason questioned the decision to go for the first down there.
"In my estimation it was a 100 percent mistake," Esiason said. "Certainly after the fact, when the play doesn't work and then they have to give the ball to the Denver Broncos with good field position. Clearly, it was a mistake. This just doesn't make any sense as to why you would do what they did there. But in true Patriot fashion, somebody comes up with a play, somebody forces a fumble, and they go on to win it."
Added Esiason: "I love Bill Belichick, he knows more football than I will ever know, but in my estimation, the complete wrong call there, 100 percent wrong call there. If you don't believe you want to attempt a field goal and give them good field position, I get that. Just pooch punt it. Even if they just take it on the 20 and you make them go 80. Especially with the other quarterback on the other side."
Peyton Manning has played well in his return to the NFL, even if he isn't at 100 percent. Manning completed 31-of-44 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns and sparked a late comeback that ended when Willis McGahee fumbled away the ball at the New England 11 with 3:42 remaining.
"I will take an 80 percent healthy Peyton Manning over 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the NFL. That's how good he is," Esiason said. "I've always felt this about Peyton, especially when he plays the Patriots and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, that he's always had to significantly outplay Tom, because Tom is in a much more … consistent environment. He's got the better coaches, he's got the better players around him. Peyton Manning, this is his fifth game with a new team, with a new group of players. As well as he played yesterday, he wasn't the reason they lost. It was a few of his teammates who let him down."
Although the Broncos are 2-3, Esiason predicts they'll be playing in January.
"I've got to believe the they're going to get better as the season goes on, if you can believe that," he said. "I mean, offensively, they're as good as anybody in the league right now. But as they go on here, I do believe that they are the best team in the West. I do believe that they will be in the playoffs. And I would not be surprised to see Denver visiting New England in the first or second round of the playoffs."
Turning his attention to the Jets, Esiason said he'll be interested to see how Rex Ryan's crew performs against the Texans on Monday night.
"I think that their manhood and their pride have been challenged all week down here. And nobody, I mean nobody, especially Rex Ryan, likes that. I think it's the purest form of motivation, is when people are insulted and embarrassed. They'll give a tremendous effort tonight. … [But] the Jets don't have the horses to hang with the Houston Texans. They're one of the best teams in the league. When you lose two of your best players, Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis, that's a major, major problem for the New York Jets.
"Offensively, they don't have anything. They're a bunch of average players running around out there. Mark Sanchez, I believe they've ruined him as a quarterback right now. His confidence is just nowhere to be found. They may start off well tonight, but the more they play, the uglier it gets. And that just goes to show you just how far away they are in terms of personnel, and where they are as a franchise right now."
Patriots Safety Devin McCourty joined Glenn, Lou, and Christian, and talked about covering the Steelers Wide Receivers, and how he's helping the players who are in the AFC Championship for the first time prepare.
ProFootball Talk's Mike Florio told Glenn, Lou, and Christian that the Patriots have a quiet confidence that they can outscore the Steelers, since they've proven they have the ability.
Holley and Keefe check in with NFL Network's Heath Evans for some final thoughts on the Houston win and to look ahead at the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
Hour two of Saturday Skate as Ken Laird and Rear Admiral kick around the perception of backup goalie Anton Khudobin, B's coach Claude Julien, and possible trade target Gabriel Landeskog.
"D-Wood" Joins the show to talk Brady vs. Rodgers and predicts a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.
Hour 3. Ben Volin shares a stat about Trump that will blow your mind. Mut wouldn't answer any questions about Trump's alleged sexual assaults.
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian enjoy the festivities ahead of the Inauguration, and give their predictions for Patriots-Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian love how Bill Belichick reacts to the plethora of stupid questions he receives from the Media during his Press Conferences.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.
We close out the work week with the best sound clips of the day.
We check in with hall of famer Michael Irvin to find out what happened to his Dallas Cowboys and look at the remaining playoff match-ups.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the Thursday K&C show featuring Jon Meterparel back in the saddle.
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Hour 2. Ben Volin joins the show to discuss the Patriots game this weekend.More from this show
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Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.More from this show