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Long on D&C: Patriots’ schedule a challenge

08.13.10 at 9:55 am ET
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Fox NFL analyst Howie Long joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning (listen to the interview at the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page) and talked about the Patriots’ outlook for 2010. “Well, they didn’t do you any favors with the schedule,” Long noted. “Out of the division, you get the Bengals, Ravens, Chargers, Vikings, Steelers, Colts, Packers and Bears ‘€” potentially a better Bears team. I think it’s going to be a tougher row to hoe this year. I really do.”

Looking at the AFC East, Long said the Jets appear to be stronger than last year, although the absence of cornerback Darrelle Revis is a big concern. “One way or another, they have to get him in,” Long said. “The quandary they have is that he’s got three years left on his contract. But he’s also by far the best corner in the league. He’s so big, physical, coverage, run support, ball skills ‘€” he’s as good a corner as we’ve had in the league in some time.”

Long considers the defending Super Bowl champion Saints the “team to beat” but noted that they had a huge turnover margin on defense (26 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles) last season that will be a challenge to repeat. “That number is staggering,” he said. “I think offensively they can do what they did last year. I think they’re that kind of a team. I think their pieces are all in place. [But] for them to duplicate what they did last year on defense will be difficult to do. That’s the only caveat that I have.”

Regarding the Brett Favre situation, Long said he’s OK with the quarterback being given extra time to make his decision about whether to play this season. “We had Bo Jackson [with the Raiders in the late 1980s], who played baseball and then would come to us in October. Anybody who wasn’t happy to see Bo Jackson when he walked through the door in October was a fool,” Long said. “It is what it is. In every business … not everyone on our [Fox studio] set is treated the same way. That’s the reality of the situation. The Minnesota Vikings are no different than any other company.”

Long also touched on fellow Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson, who recently returned from a taping of the reality series “Survivor.” Jimmy’s a remarkable guy,” Long said. “Jimmy’s at that stage in life we all need to get to as quickly as we possibly can ‘€” not from an age standpoint, from a philosophy standpoint. Jimmy lives life. And Jimmy doesn’t want to waste another minute of his life on people that aren’t fun. … If we all lived our lives the way Jimmy does, we’d be better off.”

Read More: Bo Jackson, Darrelle Revis, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson
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