Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Peter King made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni and discused the final weekend of the regular season and the playoff picture.
The Patriots have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the home-field advantage that comes with it, but King noted the lack of importance regarding home playoff games in recent history.
"I would argue, after the last seven years, what really does home field mean?" King said. "You had a 6 seed seven years ago, the Steelers, win the Super Bowl. You had the Giants twice go on the road for a total of five games in January, win them all and go on to win the Super Bowl. You had the Packers a couple of years ago as a 6 seed go on the road for all three games in the playoffs. So, I'm not really sure what home field means.
"I think what is important at this time of year is who's playing the best. I would much rather be the New England Patriots traveling to Houston, right now, than the Houston Texans hosting the playoffs. Because the Patriots are playing so much better than Houston right now."
The Patriots also could be eliminated from contention for one of the AFC's top two seeds by the time they take the field Sunday at 4:25 to play the Dolphins. However, King said it's unlikely they'd sabotage the game, even if dropping to the fourth spot might give them what appears to be easier matchups in the first two rounds.
Said King: "Honestly, think about it for a second. If you're sitting there, and you're the New England Patriots right now, and if this were even going through their mind -- 'Hey, let's lose so that Baltimore can jump over us' -- it's hard for me to imagine that especially Tom Brady would come out and blister his team in Jacksonville for playing poorly and then on the last game of the year go out and either purposely lay an egg or play Ryan Mallett and call plays that they hope don't work.
"It's just very hard. Even if Ryan Mallett were to play, it's very hard to try to lose a game. And I'd be very surprised if the Patriots did it."
Touching on the situation with the struggling Jets and Friday's New York Daily News report that Rex Ryan will ask the team to spend some money this offseason to fix the offense or else find another coach, King said Ryan isn't the quitting type.
"Watching Rex Ryan over the last month of so since the Patriots handed him his lunch on Thanksgiving, watching him day to day and listening to what he's saying in talking to the press and talking publicly, he's a different guy," King said. "He's totally chastened. It's like he's a beaten dog. That's what he sounds like to me.
"As I look at him, I basically say, this is not him. And there's no question in my mind that whoever the general manager is, whatever happens, early in this offseason he's going to say to [owner] Woody Johnson, he's going to say to the personnel brain trust -- Terry Bradway, Mike Tannenbaum and whoever else is brought in -- 'You have got to beef up this offense. We have been playing with a minor league wide receiver corps this whole year, just an average-at-best running back in Shonn Greene, an offensive line that's way too leaky, and quarterbacks who stink. Figure it out or else please do me a favor and put me out of my misery.' But Rex Ryan is from the old school. He ain't quitting. I guarantee you that.
"I don't really think he wants to be fired. I think what he wants is for this thing to get fixed. Being in New York, Woody Johnson has to realize now that he's got to find some way, whether it be free agency or through the draft, he's got to find some way to get better on offense fast."
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.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
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 Castiglione and Rob Bradford talk with David Ortiz after the Red Sox take game 2 of their four game series with Toronto. David talks about the good pitching they've gotten and the offense finding their way.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox third baseman, who hit a homer and knocked in two runs in the win in Tampa Bay.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox center fielder, who was a single short of the cycle in the blowout win in Kansas City.
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!
Curt Schilling joined us to discuss the state of the Red Sox.
Doug defended the merits of Boston 2024.
Chris Dempsey explained why Boston 2024 does not make sense for our city.
Lou, Christian and Tim speak with Steve Pagliuca about the 2024 Olympic bid in Boston, and some of the skepticism in the city regarding the cost of the project.
ESPN Insider, Buster Olney, related some stories from the 2001 World Series where Andy Pettite was tipping his pitches to the eventual World Champion Arizona Diamonbacks.
Lou, Christian, and Tim start the show discussing last night's bounce-back performance from Eduardo Rodriguez. But the focal point of the discussion was whether or not it was wrong of NESN to show images of E-Rod tipping his pitches, and specifically which pitches he threw when his chin was tucked into his chest in different ways.
Dale, Michael and Jerry do the postgame for another Sox stinker, and find there is much more interest in how the Bruins and Celtics can build their teams after interesting off-seasons.
We wrap up the day with some of the best in sound that you may have missed throughout the day.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the new contract signed by Dougie Hamilton with the Calgary Flames, and why there's a pattern of guys in their prime wanting out (or being forced out) of the Bruins organization.
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
Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable are joined by special guests Mike Mutnansky of the Red Sox Radio Network and Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers to talk Sox prospects. What do the struggles of Rusney Castillo and Rick Porcello in the majors mean? Also, the international signing period begins July 2, looking back at past Latin American signings. And June selections for affiliate players of the month
Dino, Gerry and Gary discuss which celebrities make the most money.
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They're the topic of the town again, and probably for the wrong reasons. Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss where the Bruins went wrong, what direction they may be heading, and how it may or may not get better.More from this show