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."
Hall of Famer Michael Irvin checks in with the Dale and Holley show and offers up some perspective on the Seahawks locker room situation, and whether the supposed discord amongst other players and quarterback Russell Wilson is part of the reason why the Seahawks have struggled on the field of late.
Devin McCourty discusses the dangerous Bears offense.
Adam Schefter breaks down the Patriots and Darrelle Revis, Russel Wilson and the Seahawks, and Jay Cutler and the Bears
Jackie MacMullan joins MFB for the first time this season. She discusses the rejection of NBA lottery reform, Rajon Rondo, and the Celtics chances this season.
Kirk Minihane joins the We Hate Dwyane Wade Show to preview the upcoming Celtics season. Ben and Sam also discuss the Rajon Rondo/Jeff Green trade rumors and dabble in the classic NBA analytics debate.
Joe Castiglione does his annual wrap-up of the season by reading the poem by Bart Giamatti.
Mut and Rob discuss the "kids" and the variety of young bodies the Red Sox called upon this season. Specifically, they look at Bogaerts and Bradley, Jr. and where things went wrong. They give their opinions on which one will right the ship next season.
Description: Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett looks back at the 2014 Red Sox prospect season by answering listener questions about a number of Red Sox prospects as well as broader issues and themes in the farm system.
Joe McDonald joins the guys to talk to about the Chara injury and how the Bruins will move forward without him.
Pierre McGuire joins the guys to talk about the Bruins, the Johnny Boychuck trade, and the rest of the NHL
We talk pucks with Jack Edwards of NESN for his take on an impressive win over the San Jose Sharks and the state of the B's in general.
Rodney discussed Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Freeman's story on Russell Wilson.
Devin McCourty discusses the dangerous Bears offense.
We discuss another impressive win by Peyton Manning and the Broncos and think long term for the 2014 season about whether or not the Patriots will have enough firepower to beat the Broncos in crunch time: the playoffs.
We tackle four topics that pit Boston against Chicago in one form or another.
Mikey, Villani and Lenny are talking about the 2004 Red Sox on the anniversary of Game 4 of the ALCS with Dave Roberts steal abd Bill Mueller driving him in and what it was like to witness.
Mikey, Mut and Lenny are talking about the Patriots and how they have stacked up through the years and what got them to the three championships and five Super Bowl appearances in the Brady-Belichick era.
Mikey and Mut take a call from someone who wants to criticize Belichick the GM and his history of drafting players and making moves in the draft.
AJ Soares joins the show to talk about the Revs run to the playoffs, how Jermaine Jones has impacted the team, and should Lee Nguyen for MVP.
The Dennis & Callahan Show producers fight back.
Sausage and Lumpy, the producers for the D&C show, recorded a podcast yesterday. They left A LOT of stuff on the cutting room floor. Luckily, MFB picked it all up and played the unedited version during the midday show. Kirk joined the show to discuss how hard it is working with Callahan and his two producers.More from this show
We discuss the breaking news that Darrelle Revis was sent home yesterday for being late to scheduled team activities. Was it the right move by Bill Belichick? We discuss.More from this show