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January 7, 6:01 AM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

zane mwc,ok

who will win the title game ou or florida?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Really looking forward to this one. Seems quite evenly matched to me, but I guess I tend to lean towards FLA because they have more of the "Been-There. Done-That" experience on their side.

Greg (Baltimore)

Matt, Have you made your pick for the Ravens-Titans re-match?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

The Ravens will visit Pittsburgh next week and Philly will travel to Carolina. Mark it down Greg.

david (new york)

I think something the gets lost in the Giants loss to the Eagles earlier this season is the absence of Fred Robbins from that game. Robbins has been incredible this year as both a run stuffer and pass rusher. Obviously the offense will need to play better, but the return of a healthy robbins will help with sacks as well as shutting westbrook down

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

That is a good point for sure. Very good player a key ingrediant to their D. I think Philly (& esp Westbrook) is a very tough matchup for the Giants. Their LBs can't keep up with him and if they play nickel vs. Philly's base personnel, the Eagles will run all over them. Just tough. Still, NYG isn't going to roll over and they are going to be a VERY tough out. Also, I think Philly's CBs will handle NYG's WRs with very little help and the safeties will spend a ton of time near the LOS.

Mike (Boca Raton)

will you be doing your radio show in pittsburgh again this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I appear on 1250 off and on. I will be on tomorrow from 6 to 7, but just do hits here and there for the most part. Thanks for looking out!

Mike (Boca Raton)

is it possible that san diego's punter could be the biggest factor in the game sunday?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

It certainly is huge. Big in Balt/Tenn game as well in Balt's favor. Going to prob be tight games and field position can't be overlooked. PGH's punting situation is a nightmare.

Ryan (San Diego)

Pitt-Sd, who ya got in the rematch? I know your allegiance makes you lean pitt, but you did say SD would go on a run in the playoffs and picked them to represent the AFC. Sticking to your guns?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Wow, you have been paying attention. I did write that game up for Scouts, Inc and picked PGH. I think I picked 20-17 or something in that neighborhood. Just think a rested Steelers' team is going to be extremely tough to beat at home-esp on a cross country road trip.

Marc (Loudoun County)

What do you think will be the biggest X Factor in Sundays NFC East Matchup?

Matt Williamson
  (1:02 PM)

I haven't yet read what Kidder picked, but I would say Kevin Boss on O for NYG and maybe Trent Cole over D Diehl on D for Philly. Many of them though. Philly struggles vs. the TE and NYG really doesn't have great WR weapons to get away from the excellent Eagles' CBs.

Mike (Boca Raton)

i had forgotten that the steelers secret weapon heath miller (so secret at times that his o.c. doesn't know he is playing) missed the first matchup between pit/s.d. what kind of problems will he create for s.d.'s defense?

Matt Williamson
  (1:02 PM)

Miller-and Speath to a lesser extent-should present major problems, but you mentioned it. The O-Coordinator doesn't use this excellent football player nearly enough.

Breen Bay, WI

Detroit has the #1 pick who do you see them getting and why. With that what do they use on the pick they got from dallas.

Matt Williamson
  (1:04 PM)

In rebuilding projects, I almost never say to go with a QB early in the process, but in Det's case and with all those early picks they have, I think I would pull the trigger on Bradford or Stafford if they both prove to be worth it through the rest of the process. I can live with their OL for the short term-obviously it needs major work at OG in particular, but that seems like more of a free agency project. The DL needs a lot of help as well, but I don't see a prospect there worth #1 overall.

Matt Williamson
  (1:06 PM)

As for the other early Det picks, they really can't go too wrong at any position besides RB. They need it all! This is even more true if they switch to a 3-4, which would set them back even further. But linemen are most important.

Jason (Indiana)

Will Cincy franchise tag TJ Hous?

Matt Williamson
  (1:06 PM)

Personally, I think he is a bit overrated and not a true #1 WR, but it does make sense for them and then get rid of 85. Can't lose them both and that team isn't exactly the most attractive spots for free agents to land. So yeah, I think so.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Who advances Phi/NYG, Ari/Car, SD/Pit, Bal/Ten.

Matt Williamson
  (1:07 PM)

Phil, Car, PGH, Bal

Steiny (NYC)

Do you think Bob Stoops is going to be the next coach of the Broncos?

Matt Williamson
  (1:08 PM)

I suppose they could do much worse, but for me-the hire must be a D guy like Spags or R Ryan. Can then keep the O staff in place and attack the D side of the ball. Would really worry how well Stoops would know the NFL and personnel around the league.

Mike (Boca Raton)

i'm sure you've seen reports that the patriots will franchise Cassel. assuming that Brady is healthy, what do you think the Patriots will be able to get in terms of a trade for Cassel?

Matt Williamson
  (1:10 PM)

I think it is a very smart move. Let's just assume that Brady is healthy and Cassel is being franchised for trade bait. If I were in Minny's shoes, I would probably give up their first rounder. Maybe Det gives up Dallas' first rounder or the first pick in round 2. Several teams could surely enter the bidding war...and NE will sit back and take the best offer.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Do you think Ron Rivera will ever get a shot at a HC job? He's got a great resume, and I don't think it was a coincidence SD's defense played better in the 2nd half of the season.

Matt Williamson
  (1:11 PM)

I am with ya. That situation in Chi was very odd with him and yes, SD was MUCH better with him as DC...but that also says a lot about how bad of a job Te(no D) Cottrell did. My bet is that he interviews for a few this year and doesn't get one yet.

Ryan (San Diego)

As a San Diego fan I'm not really scared about the Pitt offense. Rivera has gameplanned brilliantly in the 2nd round against teams this year and completely shut down Indy. I think it lies on the Chargers offensive line and Rivers to win or lose this game

Matt Williamson
  (1:13 PM)

Good point. PGH's O very well could be worse than SD's D. Ben is certainly the X Factor here though and I trust him to come through when the chips are down. Still, anything can happen in a D struggle. Just think PGH will get more first downs, eventually win the time of possession battle and prevail in the end as the much fresher team.

Steiny (NYC)

Do you think James Harrison should have won Defensive Player of the Year over DeMarcus Ware?

Matt Williamson
  (1:15 PM)

I felt like Ware went past him over those last couple weeks, as Harrison was slowed by injury and Ware was racking up sacks at a crazy pace. However, that last Dallas game vs. Philly had to leave an awful taste in the mouths of the voters for the Cowboys. Certainly can't argue wtih Harrison, but I would have probably voted for Ware.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

Can Arizona be successful at keying on the running backs this week against Carolina like they were against Turner and the Falcons?

Matt Williamson
  (1:16 PM)

This is actually a similiar matchup as they had last week. Big time running game and a great WR. However, I think Car is better in both of these regards and better on D as well. I like their secondary. Plus-of course they are at home and Zona travels extremely poorly. I don't see a walk in the park for Car though.

Ryan (San Diego)

Good news for Charger fans if he gets to stick around next year, would like to see him be able to use a defensive force like merriman

Matt Williamson
  (1:17 PM)

No question. I also think Cromartie is a better player than he showed much of this year and he did battle a hip problem. Add a SS to that D and look out.

Jake (Baltimore)

You're a GM, building a team, with no current roster. With your 1st choice you're allowed to choose either Flacco or Romo. Who are you taking?

Matt Williamson
  (1:19 PM)

Wow, Tough one. I do believe in Romo, but his last few games since returning from the finger injury really are a turn off. He is such a wild card-which is good and bad. I see Flacco as Steady Joe who should continue his climb. Much different things asked of them right now. One dates Jessica Simpson and one just bought his first car. I really doubt either would do as well on the opposite team, but I suppose I am going with Romo barely. Have to believe that he is better than he showed at the end of this season. Tough one.

Jesse (Ohio)

What do you think of the Browns possible hire of Eric Mangini?

Matt Williamson
  (1:21 PM)

Not a fan of the move. I thought he and his staff did a poor job this year in NYJ. He was very much handcuffed by Favre and the front office didn't really help his casue, but it took way too long to find that O's identity and then they went away from that winning formula late in the year. WAY too passive on D-esp for a 3-4 team. Could he improve the situation in Cleveland? Sure, but I just don't get grabbing a Belichick direct D desciple and then another top dog out of the Ravens' front office. Deja Vu.

Marc (Loudoun)

How does McNabb get so much grief? 20+ TDs and almost 4,000 yds, if Brett Farve puts up those numbers you would hear MVP discussions!

Matt Williamson
  (1:21 PM)

You are dead on. Amazing

Matt Williamson
  (1:22 PM)

Going to throw this out there again...

Matt Williamson
  (1:23 PM)

By the way-SO few questions today. Is the link tough to find or something? Ball of energy over here, but not getting enough action for my liking.

Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)

Ed Reed...best corner in the NFL in the last 20 years. True or False?

Matt Williamson
  (1:23 PM)

False-He is a safety

Josh (DC)

Eli, like in game 2, will really miss Plax. Against the Eagles 2 or 3 times a game Eli would throw up a duck in the face of Eagles pressure and Plax would make the play. No Plax no playmakers.

Matt Williamson
  (1:24 PM)

I couldn't agree more. NYG is too easy to prepare for now in my opinion. He is going to get hit too-often.

Mike (Boca Raton)

are you surprised that falcons oc mike mularkey has not be mentioned as a head coaching candidate (in terms those who have been interviewed)? he left buffalo on his terms based upon principle and has done an admiral job with the atlanta offense this year.

Matt Williamson
  (1:25 PM)

Is surprising. I mentioned his name a few weeks ago as someone to look at. Developing young QBs is a dynamite thing to put on your resume. Innovative play caller. Experience as a head guy.

Jonny (LA)

Your comments on Mangini suggest that the Jets could be a playoff team next year with the right QB and an aggressive HC running the defense. Rex Ryan and Derek Anderson, perhaps?

Matt Williamson
  (1:26 PM)

Love Rex Ryan-don't want anything to do with DA. The Jets still have an identity crisis though. That OL is very much built to run block. That must be the bread and butter of the O. Short throws to the WRs and esp Keller and Leon Wash. The D still needs at least one more playmaker-CB would be ideal opposite Revis.

Jason (Indiana)

What team will be atop of the NFC North next year? They all seem to have needs and their doesn't seem to be a clear front runner for the divison.

Matt Williamson
  (1:27 PM)

If Minny gets a suitable QB, it is them. Otherwise, I would lean towards GB. Trust them to make a few right moves on D and get healtheir on their DL.

Marc (Loudoun)

Its just a result of everyone still being half zombies from the holidays...you do great work and at least some of us can finally have questions answered!!

Matt Williamson
  (1:28 PM)

Thanks...but that's not good enough. Only halfway through this. Kick it up a notch folks!

Craig (Norwich, CT)

Did the Seahawks interview any minority candidates before appointing Jim Mora Jr. the head coach in waiting before the season? I would guess so since I haven't heard any protests, but I'm still curious.

Matt Williamson
  (1:29 PM)

Not sure how that works. Would seem like such a formality since Mora truly is the Coach in Waiting. Not sure. Still, Mora??? What did he ever do in ATL? Sea's D was excellent two years ago-before he showed up. The DBs were MUCH better and took steps backwards with him as DB coach. Yikes.

Jeff(Lancaster)

Will Bruce Arians return as OC of the steelers and if so, does he deserve to?

Matt Williamson
  (1:31 PM)

I bet he does, but doesn't deserve to. Go sign a cheap head knocking FB and draft another late. Keep a few of the big OLinemen you have and get back to running the ball first and using a lot of play action. Pound teams. Know your environment. Weather. The D they have. Tradition. Mendenhall will be back. Can still use a lot of double TE sets, but have that FB who just pounds LBs for first down and esp short yardage. Can still use plenty of no huddle-Ben runs it very well.

Jake (VA Beach)

Is Corey Webster star-level at this point? He shut down Fitz, Smith, and TO this year. He's nasty.

Matt Williamson
  (1:32 PM)

He is very good. Star level? Not quite. B+ CB right now.

Matt Williamson
  (1:32 PM)

Still an excellent re-signing by NYG before he hit the market-more important than Jacobs in my opinion.

Vinnie (NYC)

Will LT take a backseat to Sproles next season? If he does not, should he?

Matt Williamson
  (1:32 PM)

Sproles is a free agent and his stock is rising incredibly fast. Stay tuned...

Greg (Baltimore)

Matt, I don't want to come off sounding like a whiner, but I will anyway. It seems a bit unfair to make the Ravens play on 6 days rest against a team coming off a bye. Lest we forget, this Ravens team never got a bye this year. These guys could probably use one more day to rest up. If the Ravens offense doesn't control time of possession, I can see this defense wearing down.

Matt Williamson
  (1:35 PM)

Not a terrible complaint. Their bye week was all the way back in Week 2 due to the hurricane. Gotta be worn down to some degree for sure. Tough minded group for sure, but why couldn't the NFL at least have given them the one extra day and let them play on Sat? Well...it could then have been argued that they didn't deserve the short week after such a grueling regular season.

Jesse (Ohio)

Do you see Braylon Edwards playing somewhere else next year?

Matt Williamson
  (1:36 PM)

I don't. Can't let him or K2 leave. New HC and GM will come in. Everything will begin peachy going into camp. New environment. Quinn comes in as starter. From there, who knows.

hank Hondo, Texas

Will the Steelers look at upgrading the o line through free agency this year?

Matt Williamson
  (1:37 PM)

Maybe, but it won't be with huge $$$ guys. PGH just doesn't do that.

JL (Hoboken, NJ)

What's your rationale on the Baltimore pick? Granted, I'm a Titans fan, but I just see Flacco making that deadly rookie mistake. Statistically, these teams are nearly identical, given that, I'll take homefield advantage and the seasoned vet over the rookie QB

Matt Williamson
  (1:39 PM)

Tough call-don't get me wrong. I just think Balt will stay more patient with their running game after many three and outs on both sides. More physical football team overall. Not by much granted. Not sold on Flacco making the big mistake-just as sold on Collins making it against this D. The biggest issue I have with Tenn is their WRs. Balt will have little problem taking them away and them attacking the run game and Collins, who is a stiff. Tenn's OL is exceptional though and it they play great, Tenn will win. Just won't be easy at all. Should be a great game, but give me Balt.

Charles (NY, NY)

Isn't a healthy Jacobs a significant offset to the lest Plax in Game 3 of the NY Philly series? He did have 10 rushes for 58 yards before he got hurt in the second game. NY is a very different team when he can wear down a defense (Remember the Ravens game).

Matt Williamson
  (1:40 PM)

Very true and that Ravens game blew me away. I would rather have Plax though over Jacobs. I fee what you are saying and Jacobs is a special cat, but Ward is very good as well and Bradshaw can certainly play. Plax takes a defender out of the box.

Sean (Philly)

Any chance that Taylor Mays falls to the Eagles in the draft? Even though he has played great this year, they need a plan to replace Dawkins.

Matt Williamson
  (1:41 PM)

Still working on draft prep, but I have to think that won't happen. Philly will pick in the late 20s (or later). A lot of teams (Hous, Den, ATL) could use a serious playmaking S.

Les (Baltimore)

Selfishly I want R. Ryan to stay with the Ravens. However, he deserves a HC job now. Where do you see him going?

Matt Williamson
  (1:41 PM)

STL or Den makea a ton of sense to me. Revamp those Ds!

Patrick, Washington, D.C.

The Eagles are the strangest team in the NFL. The Phillies have improved my faith, but after sitting in FedEx Field for three hours not a month ago, how can I trust Andy Reid and co.? Why are you, and so many of your colleagues in the media, convinced they will not come out and lay another egg, as they have been wont to do this year?

Matt Williamson
  (1:42 PM)

I can't say that I am convinced and yes, they are all over the place. Very tough to gauge. But I have to pick the game and I like Philly. Good matchup for them in my opinion. Westbrook seems healthy and that is incredibly important for this group.

Brandt (DC)

Jacobs is a beast, and i am a biased Eagles fan. But it seems to me that Bottling up Peterson is a bit tougher. Granted TJ stinks and Eli is much better, but Plax has been the key when the Giants beat the eagles.

Matt Williamson
  (1:44 PM)

Peterson is a better RB than Jacobs-no question in my mind. But I think Minny's OL is very overrated and NYG's is elite in the run game. That makes a huge difference as does the TE, FB and WR blocking help, which is excellent for NYG. And, as you mentioned, Eli is more difficult to account for than Jackson.

Zac (MN)

Could you see Farve getting waived by the Jets and being picked up by the Vikings? He would obviously love to be in Minn and we all know Minn needs a QB and Farve could be the best FA on the market. Is this just a pipe dream?

Matt Williamson
  (1:44 PM)

I could see that for sure. I wouldn't want him, but yes, he is an upgrade over what Minny has for sure. Not saying much.

Jonny (LA)

Do you think Russ Grimm gets a HC gig this year? What is your opinion of him?

Matt Williamson
  (1:45 PM)

I think he an exceptional OL coach and his players love him. Can he be a CEO? I have no idea. Maybe

Jeff (MD)

Who should Atlanta look to in the draft? Big DT, Stud safety, another wideout?

Matt Williamson
  (1:46 PM)

D most of all, but yeah, you are on track. Wouldn't worry about WR that much and would prefer one more OLineman over WR on O. NT to replace Gravy Jackson. Pass rusher to complement Abraham. S for sure. CB wouldn't hurt. D!

jim(NYC)

did Zac watch favre the last 10 games of the year? I would rather sign jeff george at this point.

Matt Williamson
  (1:47 PM)

#4 is DONE. Turn the page. Still might be better than Frerotte or Jackson, but yikes.

Jake (VA Beach)

Are the Giants going to be able to get anything in return for Plax this off-season? Or, too early to tell?

Matt Williamson
  (1:49 PM)

Would think that will be tough. However, I bet a TON of teams would be interested. Just think about it. There are a lot of WR-needy teams. Just off the top of my head: TBay and Oak wouldn't mind his off the field behavior. Seattle. Philly. Wash. Chi. Minny. Many more.

K (philly)

Im worried about the Giants Oline taking over the game, especially with all the pulling they do. Whats the key to stop the sucess of that, just backside pursuit down the line? Is there anything to counter it, would run blitzes really work when olinemen are pulling?

Matt Williamson
  (1:51 PM)

That is very daunting, but I think Philly will counter it with sheer numbers. Put their CBs on islands from time to time, load up the box. I like Philly's run defense, but it can be worn down. Smaller group. It will be key that Philly can run the ball as well-eat some clock of their own.

Ozzie (Baltimore)

More pressing need for the Ravens this offseason - game breaking WR or young CB?

Matt Williamson
  (1:52 PM)

Well, Ray and Bart are both up for free agency. So is Suggs and Jason Brown. HAVE to replace who they lose before looking elsewhere and I don't know how they could keep all of those guys. But, I guess WR, just because CBs can be masked a bit wtih great pressure.

Mike (Boca Raton)

can you imagine a locker room with plex and antonio bryant both in it? i think the florida attorney general might have some issues with that.

Matt Williamson
  (1:52 PM)

But J Gruden wouldn't....

Paul (NYC)

I know you said he's overrated, but do you think Houshmandzadeh would be a good signing for the Giants?

Matt Williamson
  (1:53 PM)

Yeah-can they afford him? Have some UFAs of their own and just invested in Webster. Still, I would assume Burress will come off the books in some regard. Housh is good-don't get me wrong, but I just don't see him as a field stretcher. Limited.

Sean (Philly)

Plaxico isn't a QB, why would Gruden want him?

Matt Williamson
  (1:56 PM)

Another good point. Garcia is a free agent and in JG's podcast on Monday, he mentioned Garcia to Minny, which I think makes a ton of sense. Gotta think there will even be more QB movement in TBay this offseason.

Joey(NY)

You talk about BJ putting more Eagles up in the box, doesn't that also make them more vulnerable to a home-run TD scamper by the big man if he gets past the 2nd level ?

Matt Williamson
  (1:56 PM)

Sure, but that is a lot of bodies to get past.

AK (NYC)

With so much $ invested in the QB position, we shouldn't expect the Pats to be major players in FA (a la '06), right? They really need an entirely new secondary, do you really think they can do it via the draft? Their "find a diamond in the rough" mantra hasn't worked...

Matt Williamson
  (1:57 PM)

Cassel will get dealt. He is a tool to get more draft picks. My early prediction: NE to win next year's SBowl.

Zac (Bay Area)

Would Zona take Nnamdi and Fargas for their 1st, 2nd and Bolden?

Matt Williamson
  (1:59 PM)

Not sure NA is theirs to deal. Can they Franchise him again? Thought they could not for some reason. I don't dislike Zona's CBs-DRC is about to be a star. Hood is fine as a #2. Use a third rounder on a CB or so. Another pass rusher is more important for Zona.

Rick, Castroville, Ca

Do the Chargers have what it takes to pull off what the Giants did last year?

Matt Williamson
  (2:00 PM)

I do think it is possible. Could potentially have to come to the East coast two weeks in a row though. Tough chore. Can't say I completely trust Norv either. Still, it could happen. I don't see ANY GREAT team in the league right now.

Nick (Cleveland)

I thought Tampa had like 15 QB's on their roster. Didn't they draft one in like the third round?

Matt Williamson
  (2:01 PM)

Josh Johnson. I like him. Could be very good-in time. From a tiny school though. BIG learning curve. Can live with Griese as well. Don't trust McCown.

Jeffy D (Feeding Hills MA)

Isn't franchising a player jusdt to trade him technically against the rules, or are there just certain situations where that is OK?

Matt Williamson
  (2:01 PM)

I think it is perfectly legal. You own his rights. Do what you want with the player.

Zac (Bay Area)

Now you have me worried...why wouldn't they be able to franchise NA again? Make the same trade to the Saints, but give the Raiders an OL instead????

Matt Williamson
  (2:03 PM)

I am not sure on this, but thought there was something in his contract (like Haynesworth) where they couldn't hit him again with it. Anyone sure on this? Who does NO have to trade on the OL? Not a real deep group. Keep trying. NE would LOVE to have NA though. Many would. Superstar.

Les (Baltimore)

MDub! If you're predicting a Balt-Pitt AFC championship are you sticking with your 'Boyz' to win a 3rd over the Ravens this season?

Matt Williamson
  (2:04 PM)

Can't make that prediction today. SO much can happen between now and then. Let's see how both play this week. Still, with a gun to my head, I would pick Car over PGH in Tampa.

Matt Williamson
  (2:04 PM)

Guys, I gotta run. This was great as usual. Take care. Enjoy a great slate of games.