Nantz & Simms talk Pats-Titans

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
5:00
AM ET
Several members of the CBS Sports NFL team fielded questions from a panel of national media on a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, taking time to cover a number of subjects, including the Patriots.

The tandem of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, who will serve as the commentators for this Sunday's season opener against Tennessee, were asked to weigh in with their thoughts on the team.

Nantz views the Patriots as a favorite to reach the Super Bowl from the AFC.

"I think the Patriots have only strengthened their team," Nantz said. "If you had to pick one team to be the favorite to take the AFC, you'd start right there in New England. A decisive favorite over the rest of the division, and with what they did with the draft, I think Brandon Lloyd gives them another dimension ... the tight ends. You give them Lloyd, now that gives them a vertical presence that they haven't had since [Randy] Moss's great year. It should be a fantastic year for the Patriots."

Simms, meanwhile, believes Chandler Jones could have a difference-making impact in his rookie season.

"I'm interested to see a lot of things. Of course, preseason again they played it very vanilla, very safe. The offensive line, a little beat up, so that's a little bit of a worrisome thing," he said. "I think though, if you look for, 'Ok, they were what they were last year, what do you like about this year's team?' right away, the guy that jumps out in preseason football to me is Chandler Jones. He was every bit as good as advertised, and it doesn't take much sometimes for an NFL team to go from wherever they are, if it's really good, to great, by having one player make a few more plays. That changes all the situations. He's got a chance to be that guy. There's no doubt about it. I can't wait to see their defense, but I can't wait to watch Chandler Jones this weekend to see how he does against some pretty big, talented veteran offensive linemen of the Tennessee Titans."
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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