Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss Sunday night's Patriots-49ers showdown and talk about other news from around the NFL.
The Patriots are coming off a rout of the AFC-leading Texans that moved them into position to take over the No. 1 seed, but King said there'e too much emphasis on home-field advantage.
"Home field has become vastly overrated in January in the NFL," he said. "You look at the Giants in '07, winning three games on the road and then going to win the Super Bowl against New England. They did it again with two wins on the road last year. The year before was the Packers, who were on the road the whole time. It is all about who is playing well at this time of year and who has the quarterback that is playing the best. And there is no team playing as well and there's no quarterback playing better than Tom Brady and the Patriots right now. Everybody can see it."
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh replaced Alex Smith with second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick midway through the season. King said people can debate the merits of the two QBs, but Harbaugh has put the team in better position to succeed with this move.
"What [Harbaugh] basically was saying is, I like Alex Smith but I don't love Alex Smith, and I like the potential of Colin Kaepernick down the stretch to be able to play better and to be able to do more things well than Alex Smith does," King explained. "But if Colin Kaepernick gets planted into the ground by Vince Wilfork on Sunday and can't play anymore, if I were the 49ers I really wouldn't be all that concerned. Because the Part B of what Harbaugh did is he made it possible to have two quarterbacks who can play well and who can win playoff games deep into January."
Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled this week that the Saints players who had been suspended for their roles in the team's bounty scandal should not be punished any more.
"My one fault with Tagliabue's ruling is that he didn't take into account the fact that Roger Goodell had been constantly lied to for a long period of time by the Saints," King said. "To then basically say that we're cutting the suspensions and the discipline in effect in half, I thought it was a bold thing. But honestly, what Paul Taglabue wanted to do, very simply, is he wants this to go away. He looks at the harm that this had done to the NFL and he says, 'Let's end it, and end it now.' And I think with the exception of the Jonathan Vilma lawsuit, the defamation lawsuit, I think that it's just about going to be over."
The NFL reportedly is considering expanding the playoffs. King said any such move has to be tied to a reduction in preseason games.
"I'm dead set against any expansion of the playoffs, with one very slight asterisk," King said. "If the NFL were to say we're going to eliminate two preseason games -- and not only eliminate the two preseason games but not make fans pay for the one home preseason game per year -- if they're going to do that, then I still wouldn't like the increase in playoff teams to 14. I'd never, ever support the increase to 16. That's awful. And right now I wouldn't support the increase to 14 unless there were some major concessions on the preseason, which I'm told there's a chance that those could be coming, and not just in a cosmetic way, not just in a small way. It's possible that they could really do some major surgery this coming offseason on the preseason, which is long, long overdue."
The guys react to what Don Banks had to say and get into some more thoughts on Deflategate. Are McNally and Jastremski ever going to break their silence and give their side of the story? Price says yes ... eventually.
Don Banks talks with the NFL Sunday boys about his reaction to Brady's appeal, where we go from here and the NFL's motives and decisions throughout the process. He also gets into the Pats offseason so far and their weakness at CB. Don gives his take on the AFC East this year and how some of the Pats' rivals have improved.
Greg and Price discuss their thoughts on some of the reports that have leaked after Tuesday from Brady's appeal hearing. The boys talk about what the reaction will be if Brady decides to accept a 1-game suspension. Fans want a complete exoneration, but there's a good chance that they won't get that - how will they react? They also talk with Mike Petraglia and get his thought on the appeal and more.
Sam is joined by Jared Weiss from The Garden Report and CLNS Radio to breakdown game 4 of Cavs-Warriors, preview game 5 on Sunday, and analyze the Celtics needs this off-season.
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?
Joe & Dave talked to the Red Sox slugger, whose 7th-inning homer took the lead back for good in the win over the Astros at Fenway.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who threw a much-needed complete game win against the Astros at Fenway Park.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza about the Red Sox solid road trip and offensive outpouring in a win against Toronto.
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.
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!
The guys discussed John Farrell's decision to start Porcello again.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Gary Tanguay.
Dino, Gary and Bradford discussed their holiday weekend.
Conor McGregor has harsh words for Floyd Mayweather on Conan, Colbert hosts public access TV & will Joey Chestnut defend his title in Hot Dog Eating Contest?
Discussing Greg Monroe signing with Milwaukee and debating if that gives hope to a cold weather city in Boston
Kicking around the dream of acquiring a pitcher like Sonny Gray and how much you would have to give up in order to acquire that caliber talent
In honor of the 4th of July holiday, guest hosts Rob Bradford and Andy Hart examine the four worst renditions of the Star Spangled Banner at sporting events.
Rob Bradford and Andy Hart are in for Dale, Holley, and Thornton and are joined by Houston Astros writer Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle to preview the weekend's Red Sox - Astros series as well as to get the inside word on the St. Louis Cardinals hacking scandal.
WEEI Bruins Reporter D.J. Bean joins Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola to talk about the signing of winger Matt Beleskey on the opening day of NHL free agency.
With 80 games played for the Red Sox, Mikey Adams wants midterm grades for several players. Also, after another Rick Porcello clunker in Toronto, callers and texters give unflattering Porcello Limericks. Lenny Megliola and Textress Lucy are along.
Danny's early thoughts on Celtics drafting Terry Rozier at the 16th pick
Ben, Russ & Alex discuss the Revs continued downfall & argue over The Mighty Ducks movie franchise
Gary and Ben on the Pats.More from this show
Greg Dickerson is joined by Super Bowl champ Steve DeOssie who presents the theory that Roger Goodell actually wants Tom Brady to appeal his suspension in court... and to win. Also, the guys defend themselves when a caller describes them as Patriots 'homers'.More from this show
Scott Cordishi is solo in studio while John Rooke is on the road. Scott takes your calls, texts, tweets and emails on the week's hot topics. It’s Independence Day, time to celebrate our nation’s birth with fireworks, parades and cookouts. The Red Sox are on the grill with their bait and switch routine, we love them…we hate them, what’s a loyal fan to think?More from this show