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November 17, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

MW in the house. Let's get this party started!

Matty Nice (The Burg, PA)

MW, So I was at that debacle at the big ketchup bottle- the O line looked swiss cheese and the coverage on the TE and WR was poor at best. can we bouce back?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

I think so, but the injuries are really taking their toll. But I think NEng is about the worst match up in the league for PGH. That short precise passing game led by an excellent QB-big problems for PGH in particular. Plus, BB schemes up his blitzes so well-also huge problem for PGH. I do think the Steelers will be fine, but you should root against ever seeing the Pats again.

James (Indy)

Matty!!!! This has to be one of the strangest seasons in recent history. Pats demolished by the Brownies, then go to Pitt and destroy the Stillers. Thoughts on Pats-Colts this weekend? I think if Indy can't get Addai, Collie, Brackett and/or Session back in the lineup it's gonna be ugly. If they get three or four of those guys back, maybe it's somewhat of a game.

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Big time crazy season. Did my power rankings yesterday-I have no idea! Good point about Indy's injuries. Big factor for sure. I do want to see a few practice reports before picking that one. But I can see Manning having a monster day against that secondary. Will prob still take NEng-so tough at home and could be hitting their stride.

Eric (Chicago)

Thursday Night Football for you Matt...who you got?

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Tough game to pick. Flopped on it for my Scouts Inc write up predictions. Really worried about Jake Long's injury (vs. Peppers!). But I also have a hunch that Miami (like Clev and SF) might find themselves a QB in Thigpen. He might be what they need. He is aggressive. Could see him force-feeding Marshall, which is a good thing. Taking the 'Phins is a very close game, but I am also quite high on Chicago's D. Cutler is going to be under siege from Wake.

Justin (ATL)

Matt, whats your take on Matt Ryan? Coming up?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Very much so. Still not sure he is a Put-The-Team-On-His-Shoulders type of QB. Needs strong pieces around him. But his play has quietly improved greatly this season. Precise passer. Gets it out quick. Reads D well and quickly.

James (Denver)

Looking to past years for some guidance on this season; Can you recall a recent year with this many good but not great teams? Do you usually eat a snack during these chats?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Don't snack during chats. Eat lunch before hand. Just a big ice water and my iPod blasting for chats. Can't recall a season like this one. By now, there is usually an undefeated team-and almost always at least one one-loss team.

CC (Atlanta)

What does the ATL win over BAL tell you? Seems like most are pointing out the the PI non-call against Roddy instead of the fact that ATL dominated for 3 quarters.

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

It doesn't tell me a lot that I didn't already know. Both teams are serious contenders. ATL is fantastic at home. If they played 10 times-5 home, 5 away-I tend to think it would end up 5/5 or 6/4 in Balt's favor. They could meet again.

Jay (SD)

So you believe Thigpen could help Marshall's production?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I do. But I also think Miami will run more Wild Cat with him than in the early portions of the season. Thigpen isn't bashful!

Juan (Miami)

Matt, last week you sounded pretty high on Chad Henne, only to have him benched for Pennington a few hrs later that same day! what do you have to say now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

I still like Henne quite a bit. In fact, I don't think he deserved to be benched. I see why they did it though. Pennington is certainly an above average backup and is more consistent/accurate than Henne. If they (play calling) is not going to use Henne's big downfield arm, then you might as well go to Pennington-even though it sets the franchise back long term. Obviously Pennington is a China Doll though. I still like Henne-that hasn't changed. But I am excited for Thigpen and think he could surprise.

Shane (Baltimore)

Rams v Falcons this weekend. Your take?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Scary game for ATL. Could see them coming in flat. STL is quite strong at home and I have my doubts about ATL on the road. But-if ATL is legit-this is the type of business trip that you have to win. And I think they will. Might not be pretty though.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Any chance the Browns get to .500? I see winnable games against Buffalo, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Carolina, and it's not completely ridiculous to say that they could beat Miami and Jacksonville. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Doesn't sound far fetched to me. I bet they go 4-1 in those games you mentioned. 3-2 at the worst. They are awful difficult to play against!

ted (ny)

matt, so who do you think the redskins use as their starting RB going forward?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

You know with Shanny that it will be a revolving door, but I think Williams is the best guy. I would put Portis out to pasture. Torain fits the system well, but is too one dimensional. Not a contributor at all in the passing game. Williams does everything well, but nothing great. He would be my guy going forward.

Sergio (Fresno,CA)

so how them raiders! why made the raiders this good? and is it a fluke?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Somewhat fluky. Haven't gone toe to toe with a heavyweight yet. But they are certainly improved. Well coached. Great running game. Much improved-and healthy-OL. But I really like their front seven on D. Big test this week coming into PGH.

CC (Atlanta)

Why do people kill ATL for their road performances? Wins @ Saints, @ Cleveland. Lost @ Pitt in OT. Got hammered in Philly. That's not a terrible track record.

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

It isn't and trust me, I have considered that. It is just a small question I have with that team. That's all. I am a believer in ATL. In fact, they were my preseason pick to win the South. But can they go to Philly/GBay/New York for the NFC Championship game and bring home a win?

Mark Sanchez (Florham Park)

I love proving critics like you wrong. I can't believe you wrote some nice things about me recently on the website. Do you think we will be 9-2 when we face new england in a few weeks?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Still not a believer in Sanchez and don't retract one thing I have said about him. Not saying he is the worst QB in the world or anything, but he holds the Jets back. Worst QB on an upper tier team this year. Has come up huge in clutch situations. Has improved, but still has a LONG way to go. Talk to me when the wind starts swirling and you can't complete the deep out pattern. We'll chat. I also notice that you were very quiet during that awful stretch you had during the early weeks of the season.

June (the Bronx)

You have been a harsh critic of Mark sanchez, yet you called a clutch performer, at what point do you give this kid credit. Are you bi-polar or something?By the way, you kind of sound robotic on the Podcast with the mic from Holland. Love your work!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

It is a different sound, huh? Not my department! I do give Sanchez credit for coming through big when it matters most. He has done that in a short body of work. But very average physical tools. Everything needs to be right. Not a big time improvisational player-but did do that well last week.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Baltimore has to be the clear favorite to win the afc north now, right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

I wouldn't say that. I do think they are the favorite, but not by leaps and bounds. I think PGH beats them with Ben in that first game...but PGH isn't as strong on the OL or D now as they were then.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Anyone looking forward to playing the Eagles the rest of the year? How do you think the NYG game shakes out?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Philly is on fire right now. I like the Eagles over NYG, but they aren't going to steam roll them like they did Wash. NYG isn't a joke and if that DL comes to play (not like last week), they will be very tough to move the ball on.

Sam (Los Angeles)

What are you thoughts on Dez Bryant? It looks like he's the best WR on the Cowboys, which includes a very good Miles Austin and an improved Roy Williams. Is he a top 10 WR in the league?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

He's amazing. Going to be one of the very best. To compare him to Austin/White/Fitz/Andre/etc though...it is just too early. I need to see more of a body of work. But he is currently #2 on my Rookie Report...and yes, I am smitten.

Patrick (NYC)

Will the Giants be able to keep up with the Philly's speed? Is Philly the fastest team offensively AND defensively in the NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Haven't thought about it, but their skill guys have to be near the very top. Now that you mention it, I love their DL speed. Strange to say I guess, but they have a lot of active fast DLinemen. How about Indy's D speed?

Curt (NJ)

Who will be better in the long run: M Williams TB or Dez?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Love them both. But Dez. More physical ability. He is off the charts.

Austen (Arizona)

Is Vince Young the right choice at quarterback?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

I guess. But he is far from perfect. Better player than Collins though. Opens up the running game. With VY and Moss now, Johnson could have a MONSTER 2nd half of the season-like last year. I also think VY will get it to Moss deep. He is harder to prepare for than Collins. But what happened to Tenn's D last week? Wow

Brett Favre (Infirmary)

Dubb, what's your cell#?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

What good will that do you? "Can you get me off the hook Mikey? For old time sake?"...."Can't do it Sally."

David (NY NY)

Do you look for Jerome Harrison to be a factor as we get to the second half? Can't figure out why Cleveland was reluctant to play him and then gave him away cheap.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Felt from that start that Clev got robbed in that deal. Not a fan of Bell at all, although he is much more like Hillis than Harrison is. What is strange about Harrison is that every coach/staff in Clev all didn't seem to like him. Reluctant to use him. Maybe there is something about this guy that we just don't know. Odd. But I tend to think it will be Philly's gain. Keep Shady (from Pitt) fresh for the long haul.

Jeff (Nashville)

Scouts inc write up has MN's secondary better than GBay's....Really?? Who do you like in that matchup this weekend

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I prefer GBay's secondary and will pick the Pack to win that game. Big. Minny is done.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

Do you think Stafford will ever stay healthy enough to live up to his potential?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Who knows. Seriously. Not getting on your case, but I have no insight on such a question. I love his ability. Love what we have seen. Love what he might become. But I do certainly worry about his ability to stay healthy-and he has never been one to shy away from contact. But I am not a doc.

Shady and Session (Pimpin)

PITT BABY!!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Got that right...Larry and Revis!

Curt (NJ)

Just saw your article on Ahmad Bradshaw. Do you think he'll be an elite RB in a few years? He's only 24

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Elite is just such a big word. Love Bradshaw. Do think he is improving-rapidly. But how many touches can you give him in a season comfortably? Could certainly be a top 10 RB though...no shame in that!

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Can the Bucs actually reach the playoffs this year? 6-3 with very winnable games vs. San Fran, Washington, Detroit, and Seattle. Three from the NFC South?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Amazingly, it could happen. VERY curious to see their pass pro vs. Miami tomorrow. Last week, it looked like they may have corrected some of the problems. But I really don't think they have very good OLinemen.

Vince Young (Nashville)

I have 10td's 3 int's and my team is 5-4 why does the media still hate me?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Hate? Fans use that word too much. I don't hate Mark Sanchez. I don't even hate his game. I don't hate VY's game either, but he does have some deficiencies.

Alex Smith (SF)

Will I ever get my job back?? Is troy really better then me??

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

Troy is a much better fit with Singletary and the persona of that team. Tough guy. I really like that fit.

pierre (Dallas)

Miami is playing the bears tomorrow dude

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

I know that Bro. Just went back and looked. Sorry-thought he said Bears...not Bucs. And yes, TBay could get into the playoffs. So could Chicago!

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

What do you think of Colt McCoy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Wasn't a fan coming out of the draft and still have real worries how he will handle things when the weather turns. But he has been very impressive. Poised. Game has never looked too big for him. Sustains offense. Moves the chains.

Brandon Jacobs (NY)

Am I gone after this season or do I stick around to vulture TDs from my pal Ahmad?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Goner. Just doesn't bring enough to the table. Use a 3rd round pick or so on a bigger RB.

David (NY NY)

It seems like Vick is being more patient in looking to pass, yet he's getting as many yards running as ever. Does this make sense? Even for scrambling, is there an advantage to waiting?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

I would say he is being more patient, but not by leaps and bounds. Still pretty quick to take off. But does buy like behind the LOS while keeping his focus downfield to pass. I just think he is more accurate than ever and understands coverages much better than ever.

Sergio (Fresno,CA)

So who do you think will win the AFC West?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

SD. Expecting them to catch fire going forward. Maybe I am nuts, but I can see R Mathews being a serious factor, but most of all, that should be the #1 Passing O in the league once everyone is healthy and on board.

David (NY NY)

So it's been a few games that Cushing has been back from his suspension now. Has there been a Merriman like dropoff, or does he still seem to have it?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I don't see the same player. Moving to MLB didn't help his cause, but he was really something as a rook...don't see it now.

Pod Vader (Overstock.com)

I'm getting you a new mic for Friday's podcast

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

I think that is in the works. We have the new thumb drive, which is pretty cool. But I think the headset is getting replaced.

Pierre Garcon (Lost)

Dubb, can you help hypnotize me and get my hands fixed?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Surprising. Pierre, you better get it fixed quick. If 18 loses faith in you...forget about it.

Tim (SD)

If Bolts win AFC West, does Rivers win MVP?

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Yes

David (NY NY)

I suspect that just picking the favorite in every game would be the way to win "pig skin pick 'em" on the podcast. What do you think?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Not sure on that. I do know that Pod and I have had to pick an Upset Special every week...that doesn't make anything easier. Lots of upsets now a days though.

Brandon Marshall (Miami)

Do you think my season is slipping into decline, especially given Thigpen's start, or do you think this may be the catalyst needed to get back on track?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Catalyst. Thigpen doesn't hold back. I bet he looks your way a ton. Total hunch though.

Tim (Saginaw, MI)

What do you think of Jim Leonhard? To me, he appears to be a bit of a liability in coverage.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

I think he will always struggle against the 6'4"+ big physical TEs and the big fast WRs. Just not big enough. In fact, I don't love him one on one against the small quick WRs either. So I guess I agree. But you need a guy like that on D.

John (Boston)

Is Roddy White that best WR in the NFL?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Would still take Fitz and Andre J over White.

Curt (NJ)

Thoughts on Dwayne Bowe? I know his insane stats came from garbage time, but he absolutely ravaged the pretty good Denver secondary.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Very true. Has been terrific this season. Remember all the issues between him and Haley? Maybe Haley deserves some credit for whipping him into shape. I think much of last week's production did come against very soft coverage though.

Scott (SD)

What's on the iPod today? Any Dierks Bentley??? :)

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Totally on random. Gilmour now. There's No Way Out of Here. Tremendous tune.

Chris (PA)

An running back BIGGER than Jacobs?! Do those exist?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Think you misunderstood. I meant to draft a different big back to complement Bradshaw and let Jacobs get on with his life's work.

James (Indy)

We're rolling into Turkey Day Dubb. Hitting the road this year or is the party at Case de M-Dubb?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

That is a big work day for me Brother! The fam will go to my parents. I may or may not meet them later on. Otherwise, leftover turkey and pumpkin pie for M-Dubb. Duty calls.

Eric (Missouri)

Regardless of the soft coverage, Cassel throwing for 450+ and 4TD, 0Int, is still impressive. Is he starting to turn the corner to being a good quarterback?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Maybe. I am open to that idea. Tend to think not, but he has really been terrific at valuing the football this season.

Matt (Houston)

MW, what's your opinion on Chilly in MN. A)Should he be fired, B)When will it happen, and C)What do you think Zygi should do to right the ship?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

I would fire him and hand it to Frazier ASAP. Let's see what Frazier has in him. True audition-like Garrett in Dallas.

James (Indy)

Is there a team in the AFC that needs home field as badly as Indy, or a team in the NFC that needs it as badly as Atlanta?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Indy more so than ATL. As stated earlier, ATL has done well on the road...but I do still have my doubts there!

Kevin (Denver)

Will you please take a real question...Why isn't the NFL considering a 17 game format with 8 home 8 away and 1 neutral site(London, Berlin, Los Angeles, etc.) game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Watch your tone. I have no idea. Don't work for the league office.

Alex (New York)

The Jets haven't generated a pass rush without using a blitz since John Abraham. Which upcoming FA or guys in the draft do you think could be the answer?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Surprised J Taylor hasn't helped more. But you are right. One STUD pass rusher would go a very long way with that Pass D. Don't know the names off the top of my head though.

Chris (Spokane)

Do you think that Big Mike Williams (BMW) has turned his career around? is he worth big money in the offseason?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Has certainly turned his career around-considering just how low he has fallen. I like the guy. See him as an ideal #2 WR. Chain mover. Red zone guy. Almost like a TE on the perimeter. What do you pay for that? I would say he is worth more to Seattle than anyone else.

Matt (Houston)

Best RB duo in the league this season? McFadden/Bush, Charles/Jones, someone else?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Hmmm...I guess it has to be one of those pairs. I firmly believe that Stewart/Williams is the best pair-but to no fault of their own, that aint happening.

Jason Garrett(Dallas) [via mobile]

Am I the answer or do u still see Jerry needing to go after a more high profile name?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

We shall see. One game does not a Head Coach make.

Curt (NJ)

Can you see Kolb landing in Minny this offseason? Obviously the Eagles are going to keep Vick, so wouldn't the trade make sense for both teams?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

A LOT of sense. Big price tag I would bet. More than Minny's first rounder? I would give up that #1 for Kolb right now if I were Minny. Zona?

Jeff (KC)

DeAngelo to the IR? Poor panthers, huh?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

They are really making a strong push for that first overall draft pick. Ouch.

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Folks, that is a wrap for me. Great stuff. Join me tomorrow for Cover it Live. I usually don't do Thursdays, but this is a guest appearance.