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Peter King on M&M: ‘Julian Edelman has a chance in the postseason to burst into America’s living rooms’

01.03.14 at 1:40 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss NFL news and expound on his prediction that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

King predicts the Patriots to beat the Broncos in the AFC championship game and then win the Super Bowl over the Seahawks, with Julian Edelman earning MVP honors.

“The way I look at this postseason for New England, it’s going to be a continuation of Tom Brady making due with guys the way he’s done most of his career,” King said. “This is a redux of Troy Brown, the year that he caught all the balls. That’s the thing about this team.

“You know who kind of reminds me of Brady right now is Andrew Luck. If you look at Andrew Luck‘s last month, remember how he was a total lost sheep when he lost Reggie Wayne? They played poorly for about a month, and he couldn’t find a weapon. What happened is he adjusted. He got used to Griff Whalen and Da’Rick Rogers and a bunch of guys like that. Now he’s even throwing to Trent Richardson.

“I think what happens is you adjust to the personnel you have. Brady’s always done that. I think that Julian Edelman has a chance in the postseason to burst into America’s living rooms.”

Looking at the Patriots’ potential opponent next weekend, King said to keep an eye on the Bengals.

“I’d be afraid of Cincinnati, which is the team the Patriots are probably going to get,” King said. “I must say that I watched an awful lot of that game, too — the game earlier this year obviously when the Patriots went to Cincinnati and lost the game. And a lot of people will say, well, the torrential downpour and all that. And look, I don’t have a crystal clear memory of that. But the one thing I do remember is that for the first at least like 2 1/2 quarters it didn’t rain. It was kind of crummy weather but they were able to play. And I think if you look back at that game — I remember thinking about it — if I’m not mistaken, I think the Patriots punted like eight of their first 10 possessions or something in that game.

“I think that the Bengals, even without Geno Atkins — because remember, they lost Geno Atkins in that game — even the Bengals without Geno Atkins have been a very, very formidable foe for a lot of teams they’ve played. Look at the teams in the playoffs that Cincinnati has beaten. Even though they haven’t played maybe as tough a schedule as a team like San Diego, they’ve beaten New England, they’ve beaten Green Bay, they’ve beaten San Diego, they’ve beaten Indianapolis.

These Bengals, I wouldn’t predict them to go to Foxboro and win a game, but this is going to be one of the tougher divisional tests the Patriots that have faced.”

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has put up some poor stats in previous postseason action.

“I would be hesitant about Andy Dalton, too,” King said. “He’s played two playoff games, had the ball in his hands 23 times, had 23 possessions, and he has not thrown a touchdown pass yet. That says something. That says to me, let’s see you do it when the spotlights are the brightest. I think the guy in my opinion this weekend, the guy under the most pressure in all of these games is Andy Dalton.”

Another quarterback under the microscope this postseason is Peyton Manning, whose Broncos have the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

“It’s such a media-saturated society now watching the NFL, that if Peyton Manning doesn’t win this year with home-field advantage again at age 37, after the season he had, when will he win? It was the same last year, and the Broncos just couldn’t hold on at the end, and then he threw that awful interception in overtime.

“This is a postseason that, if you’re Peyton Manning and you’re playing in the AFC championship game at home, I’d have more than a few butterflies the morning I woke up in my hotel in Denver on that Sunday a couple of weeks from now.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On Josh McDaniels being a candidate for the Browns head coaching job: “If you’re asking me if I think he should consider it, I think he should consider everything. But I’ve said this a couple of times this week: For some reason, the Cleveland Browns have the moat around their facility, and alligators are swimming in it. It’s a death sentence for some reason, in recent years, no matter what they do, no matter who they hire, no matter who they draft, they can’t win.

“Now, it’s very easy to say Josh McDaniels will do it, they’ll draft a quarterback, they’ll bring in Johnny Manziel, they’ll do this. Well, just consider this: If you’re Josh McDaniels, you’re sitting there, you’re 37 years old. You’re still 10 years younger than other guys who are getting considered for the first time for jobs. Still very young. But be realistic: You probably have one more chance to be an NFL head coach. Now I would ask you: Would you want that chance to be in Cleveland? I wouldn’t. If he stays in New England, which is a great job and he likes it anyway, he’s going to get this opportunity again in the next two or three years.

“Now, if you ask me if if Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand and the Detroit Lions called would I be interested? I’d be a lot more interested in that job because Matthew Stafford needs somebody to coach him and coach him hard. And they’ve got some good defensive pieces in place. But I don’t think I’d be that excited about Cleveland.”

On three playoff teams needing an extension to sell out their games and avoid a TV blackout: “I think that it’s telling. I think that the NFL in a lot of ways is sort of reaching the saturation point in what they charge their customers. But I would be a little hesitant to draw many conclusions in Green Bay. You’ve got to be a different kind of person to pay a hundred dollars to be in minus-30 wind chill for four hours. I’m sorry, I don’t care how big a fan I am, I’m saying, ‘Hey, have a great time at the game, I’ll be watching at home.’ And if the game is not on at home, that’s the risk that you take. I don’t know how many people voluntarily — unless you are total Packer nuts, or you’re very young and you say, ‘This will be something I remember the rest of my life — I sat in the coldest game ever at Lambeau’ or whatever, I don’t even know if it will be.

“And in Cincinnati, I’ll just tell you: I lived there for five years, the first team I ever covered in the NFL. That community is a lukewarm team about the Cincinnati Bengals. Always has been. They’ve got some nutty, crazy fans, but they’ve got a lot of people who shrug their shoulders and say a couple of things: ‘When they win, I’ll show up. And when Mike Brown sells the team, I’ll be much more inclined to show up, because I don’t trust Mike Brown and his ability to build a team.’ Well, they’ve made the playoffs three years in a row now, they’re doing something right.

“And then in Indianapolis, I just think it’s a typical kind of midsize market, a smaller-type market in the NFL. And if they have whatever they have — I think they had 12,000 tickets that their season ticket-holders who didn’t buy the postseason tickets. That’s just not easy in that community to say, hey, come and buy 12,000 seats.

“I think they should be concerned, but I don’t think they should be going nuts over it.”

On the controversy in Minnesota, as former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe accused special teams coach Mike Priefer of being a bigot for making anti-gay comments and said recently fired coach Leslie Frazier asked him to tone down his political rhetoric: “I don’t think Leslie Frazier is necessarily scarred. I think there are a lot of coaches who would ask Chris Kluwe politely — not order him, but ask him politely — please shut up. I just think there are a lot of coaches who would say that, because NFL teams do not like distractions. They just don’t. I’m not defending that at all, but I’m saying that I don’t think that in and of itself is going to scare people off about Leslie Frazier. In fact, I think he’ll be a defensive coordinator in the NFL next year, somewhere.

“But Mike Priefer? We’ll see what happens with this investigation. If he says what Kluwe quoted him as saying, I think it would be very hard for him to get a job in the NFL. That’s a damning statement on his part.”

Read More: Andy Dalton, Chris Kluwe, Geno Atkins, Josh McDaniels
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