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."
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Rob Gronkowski's meeting with the media on Friday. Gronk said he doesn't anticipate changing the way he plays, noting that he wants to "keep smashing and dashing."
Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.
We return to our weekly segments with the one and only Peter King of MMQB and NBC's Football Night in America.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to discuss David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia's struggles, and Jon Lester's contract.
Texas Rangers General Manager, Jon Daniels, joins Rob Bradford and Alex Speier to discuss the upcoming trade deadline.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
Kirk breaks down the media criticism he has received.
The stories of the day brought to you by Kirk Minihane
Dino, Meter and Kirk discuss the light punishment given to Ray Rice by the NFL.
Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to talk about David Ortiz, the struggles of Dustin Pedroia, and the Jon Lester contract.
Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.
Given the recent Ray Rice suspension, many people are comparing it to Josh Gordon getting suspended for repeated drug abuse. Tim Benz doesn't think this is a fair comparison. He explains why.
We discuss the return of Rob Gronkowski, his comments to the media today, and what a healthy (or unhealthy) Gronk will mean for the 2014 Patriots.
We discuss the suspension of Ray Rice, and how the act he committed certainly seemed like it warranted a harsher penalty from the strict front office of Roger Goodell.
We tackle four topics, all sparked by our interest in the story about the Browns fan peeing on Art Modell's grave this past week.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.
A compelling case can be made that July 24, 2004, represents as significant a landmark as any date in modern Red Sox history. On that day, a memorable brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees served as a catalyst for an epic 10-9 walkoff victory for the Red Sox over New York and indomitable closer Mariano Rivera, a game cited by many members of the 2004 team as pivotal in Boston's first championship run in 86 years. Ian Browne, who covers the Red Sox for MLB.com and authored Idiots Revisited, discusses the landmark game.
With Training Camp starting this Thursday and the August Draft Season inching closer, Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are ramping up the Fantasy Football content to meet the demand! Today’s podcast gives an in depth look at Pete’s Top 50 Wide Receivers Article that is LIVE on WEEI.com right now. Pete breaks down the receivers by Tiers and the podcast gives full analysis of those Tiers and the players who occupy these spots and why. Get prepared for your drafts and enjoy!
We discuss the return of Rob Gronkowski, his comments to the media today, and what a healthy (or unhealthy) Gronk will mean for the 2014 Patriots.More from this show
Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to talk about David Ortiz, the struggles of Dustin Pedroia, and the Jon Lester contract.More from this show