CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning and talked about Monday night’s Patriots-Texans game, the injury to Julian Edelman and more news from around the NFL.
Some in Houston are calling this game the biggest in the history of Texans franchise. Esiason said putting the game on a pedestal could give the Texans a needed edge.
"I’d say [it's] an advantage, I would imagine. Simply because maybe it gives a little bit more focus," Esiason said. "They have room to play with here. They can lose this game and it wouldn’t kill their season. … Tonight, they’re going to have to be great on the run game. The best way to play defense against Tom Brady and his offense is to control the football. That’s the kind of team the Texans are. But what really concerns me about them is their defense. Their defense has been kind of ripped up pretty good the last couple of weeks. A lot of that was due to injury, and they’re going to get some guys back it looks like tonight.
"Their team is a very good football team. I know they’re looking at this as a major measuring stick for them because, quite frankly, if they can come away with this victory, I think in the back of their minds they feel like they can probably beat anybody and get all the way to the Super Bowl."
Esiason noted how important the running game will be for the Texans -- and how important it will be for the New England defensive line to stand tall.
"They’re going to fall back on Arian Foster, and rightfully so," Esiason said. "He’s one of the best running backs in football. That’s what they do. That’s Gary Kubiak’s background from Denver. It will be a tremendous fight for Vince Wilfork, the defensive line of the New England Patriots are going to have to come up with stop after stop after stop because they will not stop running the football. This is a running game where the offensive linemen like to dive at the knees of the defensive linemen of the opposing team. So, there is going to be a lot of nastiness on that line of scrimmage tonight. And it’s going to be pretty intense, I would imagine."
Esiason said the key to the game could be turnovers, which neither team allows often. He said it’s important for the Texans to keep Brady off the field.
"Neither one of these teams turns the ball over," Esiason said. "So, obviously if you get a turnover or something, especially in the negative part of the field for one of these offenses, that’s going to be a huge thing if in fact that happens. But if not, first and foremost, how well is Arian Foster running and is he gaining big chunks of yards. … Is everything kind of keeping Tom Brady and his offense off the field. If that’s happening, then it could be a long night for the Patriots. If that’s not happening, then it could be a long night for the Houston defense. I do like New England to win the game tonight. I think it’s going to be high scoring. I think Tom Brady will have the opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter."
Esiason said Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will be a problem for the Patriots, and that New England needs to be aware of his presence at all times.
"J.J. Watt is a pain in the neck," Esiason said. "It’s going to be a war on the offensive line for the New England Patriots. And they know it. … Any time you have a great, active defensive tackle who can move all around that offensive line and create mismatches for you, you have to be aware where he is at all times. You have got to be sure you have enough guys going his way. You’ve got to make sure that it’s not usually one-on-one because he’s better than most offensive guards and tackles. They’re very good up front, there is no question about that. This is going to be a late-fourth-quarter game. I believe the quarterback that has the ball in his hands late in this game is going to win it."
The injury that will keep Julian Edelman sidelined could be a major stumbling block for the Patriots.
"It’s going to be interesting to see how they replace that," Esiason said. "Because Edelman has done so many little, quality things for them out of the backfield, on special teams, catching balls from the slot and things of that nature. Donte' Stallworth, I don’t know if he’ll play tonight or not, but he is not Julian Edelman. Or certainly not what Julian Edelman has become to be in this offense. To me, that is a major, major loss for them and we’ll see how they react to that.”
Matt Schaub is undefeated on the road this season and heads into Foxboro looking to lead the Texans to 12-1. Esiason said he doesn’t think Schaub is an elite quarterback.
"No, not yet," Esiason said. "I think he probably is a top-12 quarterback, which would put him in the upper 50 percent of the league, obviously. … He’s kind of an under-the-radar guy. He’s more of a play-action passing guy. He’s not a guy that you’re going to have drop back 45 times out of the shotgun and say, ‘Go win the game for me.’ … He’s never played in a playoff game. These are opportunities for him now to show that he belongs and try to win a game on the road. I think it will be difficult for him tonight."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' tendency to blitz: "He can’t help himself. He’s going to blitz somewhere tonight. I always think the best thing to do with Tom Brady is not blitz him. I always think it’s better to sit back and just kind of play the rope-a-dope with Brady like [Bill] Belichick plays on [Peyton] Manning or Belichick plays on any other great quarterback and tries not to force the issue. And to see whether the quarterback in question is going to make a mistake. Now, obviously it’s a pick your poison with Tom. He can rip you when you’re blitzing. He can also be patient just to keep taking underneath stuff until you decide that you’re going to blitz and then he’ll find somebody open."
On the Ravens, who suffered a 31-28 overtime loss to the Redskins on Sunday: "Boy, they caught a heck of a break yesterday with Pittsburgh not showing up. Who saw that coming? And, of course, Dallas beating Cincinnati. I think by process of elimination, they’re going to make the playoffs, but they’re going to be a one-and-done team. This defense is not what it used to be. … They have a quarterback who is frustratingly inconsistent. … Joe Flacco, even though he had his opportunity last year, he’s waiting for that big contract right now. If you’re Baltimore, there’s no way in the world you give him an extension to the tune of $15 million a year."
On the Jets after Sunday’s 17-10 win over the Jaguars: "I know it wasn’t pretty offensively. We had virtually no passing game. It looks like they lost their second-round pick, Stephen Hill, yesterday. I didn’t see anything from Mark Sanchez that made me feel any better about his performance than I felt on Friday. It’s a major work in progress."
On the death of Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown and the arrest of his teammate, Josh Brent, on charges of intoxication manslaughter: "It is about personal responsibility, as far as I’m concerned. Personal responsibility has been lost somewhere along the line here. It is a microcosm of society in my estimation. … These things are certainly going to garner a lot of attention. … But he knows better, Josh Brent. He obviously had a DUI back in college when he was in Illinois. He’s going to have a long time to think about this."
On the AFC wild card race: "I still think it’s going to be Pittsburgh. It’s a team with nine lives. … Yesterday was just a horrific loss for them. I honestly believe that Ben Roethlisberger will somehow get his team to the playoffs. So, it will be Indianapolis and Pittsburgh."
Ian talks with Chris about the NFL offseason and specifically what the Pats have done and will do. He talks about NFL free agency, if Brandon Spike will come back to New England, all things NFL Draft and more in an extensive interview.
in hour 2 of NFL Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss some news from around the league including the Philip Rivers situation in San Diego, if the Titans may sign Rivers, where Marcus Mariota may end up, and what the Jets will do. Price talks with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about all things NFL offseason and the draft. Finally, the guys touch on if the NFL is over-saturating fans with too much coverage all year round now.
Greg and Chris talk a ton of NFL Draft in hour 1 of the show. They discuss what the Pats might do with their early picks and get Mike Petraglia's thoughts on the issue as well.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Xander had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th to get the Red Sox on top of the Baltimore Orioles 3-2, he talked with Joe and Dave after the game about what his thought process during the at-bat was and the excitement of a walk-off.
Buster Olney of ESPN joins the guys to talk about the first two weeks of the baseball season. They discuss the struggling Red Sox rotation and the potential of the high-powered offense.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan after the Red Sox come back to beat the Nationals 8-7.
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.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk discuss Ben Affleck's attempt to hide his family's history of being slave owners in a recent documentary.
The guys talk with Christopher McDougall about his best selling book, "Born to Run," and its future adaptation into a movie.
The guys talk about the David Ortiz ejection, the poor pitching performances and everything else from an ugly weekend series against the Orioles.
Kyle Draper and Sports Radio Hack Lou Merloni make up after beefing earlier in the week, Aaron Hernandez gets taken down by Larry Willmore, and our very own Christian Fauria makes his Country Music Debut
Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman joins the guys to defend his prediction of Celtics in 6.
After some suspicious outfield play from Red Sox Left Fielder Hanley Ramirez, the guys question whether or not he has what it takes to play in the outfield, a position he has never played before.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Celtics loss in game one, and whether or not they can steal game two before returning to Boston on Thursday.
We wrap up the day with some of the best sound you may have missed.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss this year's Celtics as they enter the playoffs to take one of the best teams in the East in the NBA Playoffs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Jerry is joined by hockey writer Brian "Rear Admiral" McGonagle of Barstool Sports to perform a post-mortem on what happened to the 2014-15 Bruins, who's to blame and where the team goes from here.
Ben and Alex break down Leg 1 of the quarter finals of the Champions League and talk about some of the most interesting transfer rumors.