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Peter King on M&M: Pats won’t have a lot of trouble winning division

10.14.11 at 1:03 pm ET

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Mut & Merloni Friday at noon for his weekly appearance. King talked about the Jets, the Patriots and New England’s game against the Cowboys this Sunday.

“In this division right now, I’d say that Buffalo is a better team than the New York Jets,” King said. “I think the Patriots are better than the Bills, so I don’t see the Patriots having a lot of trouble winning this division this year, but the whole question is, that hasn’t been their biggest problem in recent years, it’s been what happens in January and beyond.”

While many thought the Patriots and Jets would battle it out atop the AFC East, New York has not lived up to expectations, going 2-3 through five games. It’s been the 4-1 Bills who have given New England the most problems within the division. King said that pass protection is one of the Jets’ biggest problems.

“You can’t protect the quarterback, and the biggest thing you want to do on offense is throw the ball downfield to Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes,” King said. “I look at this team and I say, if they can’t protect [Mark] Sanchez any better, they’re an 8-8 team maybe.”

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has had an up-and-down season. The Cowboys, who were off this past weekend, most recently blew a 27-3 lead to the Lions in a Week 4 loss. Romo threw three interceptions in that game, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Romo’s penchant for making mistakes in big moments is well known, and some have compared him to Brett Favre for his make-or-break mentality.

“I think it’s a good comparison because, I’m not saying he’s in Favre’s league as far as his upside, but the rollercoaster aspect of his game, he’s a lot like Favre because he takes chances,” Kings said. “I just think that at this point in his career … you never want to tell a quarterback, ‘Hey, be careful out there.’ That’s a stupid way to operate your business. But I think you need to know when to take chances and when to not take them, and that’s the one thing in Tony Romo’s game right now that is by far his biggest flaw.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Albert Haynesworth’s limited playing time: “Clearly there’s some physical problem with him that apparently is back that is preventing him from going out and playing a lot of snaps in I believe is what the Patriots wanted to do this year, which was to play the majority of snaps on their defense in a four-man line, maybe the vast majority. Without him, Mike Wright put on IR, that hurts them as well. But without Haynesworth being there for the majority of the time, and without his help on that line, they are diminished. I’m not saying they can’t play it well, but they’re certainly diminished if they don’t have Haynesworth because clearly he was going to be the guy who was going to make that four-man line work.”

On Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant: “I think most teams when they watch Dallas on tape are going to tell you that a healthy Dez Bryant is their most dangerous offensive player. You don’t know how healthy he’s going to be coming into Foxboro Sunday because of his quad injury that he’s had. He’s limped a lot so far this year. I think that luckily for him they had the bye week, he’s been practicing and they think he’s going to be OK this week. If he’s OK, I’d be much more concerned with Dez Bryant.”

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Mark Sanchez, Peter King, Tony Romo



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