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Mon, 01/07/2013 - 11:35am  

Esiason on D&C: Pats, Broncos big favorites

CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the playoffs.

Esiason predicted the two NFC road teams (Packers and Seahawks) would win this weekend, with the Patriots and Broncos advancing to the AFC championship game.

"The home teams are going to hold serve this week in the AFC," he said. "I never want to take anything for granted, especially when it comes against playing teams twice in the same season and so close to each other. The good news for the Patriots is they have this team at home, Houston. Matt Schaub only completed I think 29 passes on Saturday. Nineteen points is not going to get it done on the road in New England. They're going to have to be so much better than they were against the Bengals."

Added Esiason: "I'm not a big buyer for Joe Flacco against Peyton Manning. I'm not a big buyer for Joe Flacco against Tom Brady. I'm certainly not a big buyer for Matt Schaub against Tom Brady. So, like I said yesterday, this past weekend in the NFL it was rookie weekend. It was the rookie quarterbacks, they were the celebrated ones. There's one rookie quarterback left, and now the big boys get back involved. Now it's Manning, it's Brady, it's Matt Ryan. It's going to be all the better quarterbacks in the league now get involved in the playoffs. We're going to see a lot better football this coming weekend than we saw last weekend, I believe, at least from an offensive standpoint."

Esiason said Houston has "a puncher's chance" for an upset, but it's a slim one, mainly due to the struggles of the offense.

"From the Texans' standpoint, if I were on the Texans team I would be saying that I'm looking forward to this, I'm looking forward to payback, I'm looking forward to revenge," Esiason said. "And then the reality comes in: 'Oh my God, how the hell are we going to score 30 points in this game?' So, if Arian Foster runs for 175 yards, Matt Schaub does not turn the football over, they get a nice return game in their special teams -- all of those little things that go into an upset of this magnitude is going to have to happen for Houston.

"I know that if I were a Texan I would be looking forward to the opportunity of righting what I felt was probably one of the biggest indignities that we went through the entire season."

Looking at this past weekend's action, Washington coach Mike Shanahan is coming under fire for his decision to start Robert Griffin III in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks despite the quarterback's injured knee.

"Mike's going to be under a lot of pressure here. There's going to be a lot of questions as to why this young man was on the field," Esiason said. "I think they can only hope that this is minimal damage to RGIII's knee. I'll tell you what, if it takes him from a 4.3 [40-yard dash] to a 4.5, that's significant. Because this guy was a special guy. When he got around the corner -- as we saw yesterday against Seattle -- earlier in the season he was a playmaker. Yesterday he was anything but that. Especially in the second half of this football game."

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.




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