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November 23, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to everyone. Let's talk some NFL!

Ed HULKOLY (Chat Ref)

Movies quotes or songs recommandations are indeed allowed.

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

INDEED!

Caleb (Champaign, IL)

Hey MW what chance would you give the cowboys vs pack?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

VERY poor chance. Dallas plays Miami. Ed...take care of this please

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Not seeing any questions in the chat. What is up with that???

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, in response to Caleb's question, what chance would you give the Lions vs. the Packers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

We just finished talking about it on Football Today-it should be posted soon. Feel good about the Lions chances. Could see the Lions DL dominating. Stafford could have a real big game. Still going with Green Bay and Rodgers in a high scoring game.

Jeff (Seattle)

Matt, Saints darkhorse this year? Seems like everyone has wrote them off to appear in NFC title game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I think NO has a very good shot. They can outscore anyone, including Green Bay. Would like to see them get a ground game going more-maybe with Ingram. But the Saints are strong....but unlikely to get a bye.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

What will be the best Turkey Day game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

Gotta be the Harbaugh Battle. But all three are excellent.

Joe (NY)

Is the problem of the Giants running game the backs or the o-line??

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

The OL more than anything-and they have struggled in protection more than many have realized. But Bradshaw being out is obviously a big deal too. Not a fan of Jacobs at all.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Thanks, Matt. While we're at it, how do you feel about the Vikings' chances at Atlanta? Blowout for the Falcons with AD doubtful?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Blow out for ATL. Just don't see where Minny has an advantage. Tough place to play to.

Ed HULKOLY (Chat Ref)

Personnal foul: Roughing the Chatter. Review your schedule and come back nd ask if Dal has a chance against Miami! Thx

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Better late than never Ed! Must say, there could be something wrong with the chat today-sorry. Getting VERY few questions.

simonsays (Lansing, MI)

Is Kevin Smith an answer for the Lions tomorrow or was last week more of a fluke?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

I like Smith and I think he has fresh legs. But I mostly think he was just going against an absolutely terrible Panthers Run D. But, he will have a more substantial role than what DET has had at RB, which is valuable.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

What do you think will/should happen with Kyle Orton? Miami, after all? Back to the Bears?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Houston makes sense. Could see Shanny getting crazy and test driving Orton for the rest of the season. But in the end, I bet he is a Bear.

Darth Ditka (Sunny Florida)

Caleb Hanie won't pull a Wally Pip....but he'll go 4-2. Agree?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

I do agree. Maybe 3-3. I am picking OAK this week in a tight one, but I do like CHI's schedule quite a bit and am confident that they get to 10 wins and into the playoffs-hopefully with Cutler returning.

Ryan (Chicago)

Thoughts on Ponder so far? What should Vikings fans be looking for when watching him play?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Oh I like Ponder a lot. In fact, just wrote him up for my Rookie Report-which I think comes out today. Don't have Ponder in my Top 10 Rookies, but I think Ponder is very impressive, although his numbers are not fantastic. Poised. Quick release. Moves well. He is their QB of the future.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

KC Joyner regards Percy Harvin as a WR in a RB's body...so he should do really well getting carries as a traditional halfback right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Would like to see Minny incorporate Harvin more as a RB with Peterson out. Has big play ability-actually is the only guy now who does have big play ability on that O. But Harvin did plenty of RB at Florida. His role needs to increase no matter what. Last week was promising.

simonsays (Lansing, MI)

Finally being able to see Stafford for a large body of work, where do you place him among NFL QBs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

It still hasn't been a huge body of work, but I love Stafford going forward. Been a lot of speedbumps this year-which is what happens. Just in the NFC, I would put Romo, Cutler, Eli, Brees and Rodgers over him.

Mike (Brooklyn)

MW, don't you think the NYG secondary should be playing more man coverage than they currently play? Perry Fewell loves to run this soft zone, specifically on 3rd and long, and it's absolutely killing NYG.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

With their pass rush and with Prince added to the mix, I do think that is a logical move for NYG.

Roadglider (Kansas)

Do you think KC should give Orton a try, or spend the rest of the season to see what they have in Palko and Stanzi? Matt, you need to get Gov't Mule and Warren Haynes on the iPod!

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Downloaded GMule very recently. Will look into Warren Haynes. Thanks! As for KC, they are not a contender. I would not pick up Orton's contract. Try to get Stanzi ready instead.

Larry (Pasco, WA)

Can P Rivers finally get it going this week against a tough Broncos defense?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Protection is going to be a huge issue against Dumervil and esp Miller. And I think Bailey matches up well vs. V-Jax. Can't say I am confident in SD at all.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Do you think Atlanta still has a good shot at one of the wild cards? They played the Saints well, but overall they just seem a little off, or unfinished...

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Have a shot for sure-those WC spots are going to be really tough in the NFC. Dallas/Giants could easily get one, same with Lions and Chicago. I think CHI has the best bet. But I would say ATL/DET/NFC East all have equal chances right now.

Curt (NJ)

Which was more decisive in the turnaround of the Broncos D this year: the drafting of Von Miller or the hiring of John Fox?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

Miller is an Elite player. DT play is WAY better now too, esp Bunkley. Fox surely has something to do with it too. Impressive.

Tarek (NYC)

Last AFC wildcard spot will go to....

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Cincy

Tim (SLC)

When Darren McFadden comes back, aren't the Raiders the odds on favorites to go to the Super Bowl?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

No. Odds on Favs to win AFC West and very much improved, but not a SB contender to me.

James (Indy)

I'm your huckleberry. That's just my game.

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

"I have a lot of friends." "I don't."

Blake (Houston)

Texans signed Clemens today as their 3rd QB. Seems like they're confident in Leinart (can't believe i just typed that) and won't be putting in a claim on Orton.

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

Good to know. First I heard that-been a hectic day. But yes, I would think you are right.

Joe (NY)

Is Matt Ryan nothing more than a good game manager at the QB position??

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Game Manager is such a negative connotation. He is a Top 10 QB. Played great last year...not as well in 2011.

Joe (NY)

You consider Hakeem Nicks to be a top WR?? He has bad hands, makes mistakes and doesn't get open vs. good coverage.

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I put Nicks in my Top 50 players, but I also see where you are coming from. Is always fighting one injury or another...which could be the root of those issues. That isn't an excuse of course.

Jeff Roemer (Tampa Bay)

Joe (NY), you type that like it's a bad thing. 3/4 of NFL teams would kill to have a QB that performs like Matt Ryan.

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

No question

Chippewa Kid (Spokane)

Matt, I am worried that T. Smith is going to blow up the 9ers secondary, are my worries justified. Music not Fitz and the Tantrums Moneygrabber

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Not sure BALT can protect long enough to get Smith deep consistently

Tarek (NYC)

Who is the odd man out in this group for 2013. DHB, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schillens?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

2013? It is only 2011 you know! Has to be Schilens. Those others are keepers.

James (San Francisco)

How about the play of Alex Smith? are we starting to finally see the reason why the 49ers took him number 1 overall?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Continues to step up. Being managed very well. Now this is a Game Manager.

Thor (Portland)

Two Broncos questions/comments Matt. (1) I hope the people questioning why Von Miller is at the top of your rookie report saw him play vs NYJ. The guy is straight up mean. (2) While I am not sold on Tebow long term with his passing ability, I think people forget that execution is as important as anything in football and Tebow executes that goofy offense almost perfectly.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Agreed on both accounts. He just can't execute the forward pass.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Did you like what you saw of Joe McKnight? Quick but never breaks a tackle...that being said, can you see him taking LT's role?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Yeah, he has some big play ability, which that O really lacks. But he seems like a 10 touch per game type to me.

Jeff Roemer (Tampa Bay)

I would want Joe McKnight's pass pro consistency confirmed before I discussed him as a long-term LT replacement.

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Extremely well said. LT excels there. And of course LT can get it done in short yardage, etc.

Chippewa Kid (Spokane)

Will Aldon Smith see increased playing time for the 9ers, plus do you see him reaching double digits for sacks

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Double digit sacks seems probable. As does increased playing time. But getting him more PT means taking away from another very good player. SF's D is loaded.

Homer Simpson (The Pink House in Springfield)

Who you got? Jimmy or Johnathan in the brother showdown?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

SF. Better team. More consistent. Don't think Rice will have a big day...and that usually spells trouble for BALT

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Any chance that Laurent Robinson pulls a 'Miles Austin' on Miles Austin? You know, takes the starter's job when he goes down? There seems to be chemistry in the air between him and Romo...

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

He has been a great addition and will have a big role going forward, but I doubt it. Austin is much more physical and way better after the catch. Maybe more 3 WR sets though on early downs.

Jeff (Boston)

Do you think the Pats keep both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet on the roster next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

All depends on the offers they get. I am sure BB will listen and if the right deal is there, attack it

Tarek (NYC)

meant 2012, sorry too excited about turkey day!

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

I figured. Its all good. Not sure why one needs to be out, but it is a good problem to have.

Steve (Texas)

What's the ceiling for Crabtree? can he turn into one of the best WR's in the game? I loved how he played against AZ this past week

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

He gets better every week. Wouldn't say he is fast or explosive enough ever rival the big dogs like Calvin and Andre, but I do think Crabtree can be a legit #1 NFL WR, and that isn't a term I throw around loosely.

Mike (Brooklyn)

How did Diehl, Snee and McKenzie get so bad overnight? And Baas has been a big disappointment in my eyes.

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

It is a mess. Diehl has always been bad. The other have been great. No idea what is going on with the right side of the line.

Mike (MN)

Are you surprised the Vikings haven't been more creative to get Everson Griffin on the field? Guy is a very explosive pass rusher.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Watch him on special teams-really impressive. Yeah, even if they used him in a J Tuck type DT role on passing downs more.

Chuck (Philly)

Matt, can't tell you how impressed I've been with Jason Peters this year, is there a LT playing better than him this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

He is fantastic. Might just be the best OT in the league.

Commentman (right here)

Rob Gronkowski is a beast.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Yup...sure is

Fred (Indy)

If you were Bengals do you package your extra pick to move up and try and get a stud or stay where you are and build some depth?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Well, I don't see one massive need on Cincy. Could use a SS, CB, maybe an interior OLineman. A nice luxury pick could be a big time stud RB. Just depends how the draft board falls....fantastic problem to have!

Nick (Nola)

Pats biggest need in the draft? Besides the obvious pass rusher/ deep threat/ injury prone cornerback.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

I think you nailed it! Safety!

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Glad there are some positives in Denver now...impressed with the OL? I thought Walton and Beadles were trash but they've been excellent in the run game...and Kuper is nasty...

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

OL started out horrible, but is coming around this year. This system certainly helps though thus far. Would say the jury is still out-but three very young starters are bound to be improving.

Mike (Brooklyn)

NYG is gonna get killed by NO in the Superdome Monday night, right? I don't see any way NYG wins.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Ross and I just discussed this. And the Football Today podcast is ready for DL now. I said they would get blown out, but Ross had a very good point that every NYG game goes down to the wire.

Tim (SLC)

If Carson Palmer takes the Raiders to the Super Bowl is he the league's MVP?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Rodgers Bro...Rodgers

Aaron (CA)

Why are my Rams so bad? Is it coaching? Lack of players? What do they really need from the draft next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

OL is awful. Awful. Lloyd is the only receiver right now. Bradford has not stepped up. CB is a massive need on D. OLB wouldn't hurt either. I tend to think they rebound a bit, but can't be certain-have been getting burned by the Rams all year here.

Eric (Paris, Fr.)

Top 3 CB in the league: Revis, Haden and?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Nnamdi still-if used properly. But he has been terrible-no way around that. Taylor and Rogers have played really well. J Joseph is in that convo. I like Davis. Packers have two very good ones. Flowers is tough. Bailey still playing well.

Eric (Paris, Fr.)

What's the toughest place to play in the League? Seattle? KC?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

I would say SEA, but the problem is that the 'Hawks are not a great team. NENG, GBAY, PGH, ATL

alikarb (DC)

"What are you gonna do? just stand there and Bleed?"

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

So great

Brad (London)

Matt, to follow up on your Saints/NYG anaylsis. Drew Brees has the highest QB rating against the Giants ever. 118.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Didn't know that. Wow. Expecting a huge day from Brees. Protection could an issue however.

Jeff (Santa Clara, Ca)

Do the 49ers have one of the better safety tandems in Goldson and Whitner? those guys make great plays on the ball and can't deliver some big hits

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Very good and very much improved from a year ago. Physical and extremely athletic. The guys around them certainly help though too.

Greg (Birmingham)

Since James Jones is buried on the Packers depth chart how good would he be on another team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

He is talented, but inconsistent. Very up and down. Tough to rely on, but can do great things. So, to me, he would be a real good complement to an exceptional #1 WR.

Nick (Nola)

Is Torrey Smith the fastest WR in the league?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

No, I would go with Wallace. But he is in the top few for sure.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

If you ever make it to Glenwood Springs, CO...hit the Hot Springs and Doc Holliday's grave...kinda cool little place...best tackling CB? Bailey and Winfield IMO...

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Nice! Winfield has held that title-can't see any reason to take it off him. Woodson is excellent too.

John (NY)

Would you rank Sanchez around 20th in terms of starting QB's??

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Sounds about right...at best

Sharell (NCFalconFan)

Matt, Will we have Cover It Live on Thanksgiving Day?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Nope. I will be planted in front of the TV though, but not hosting a live chat.

alikarb (DC)

Matt-Love your chats. Are you buying this whole notion that Fiammetta is the difference in the Dallas run game? Seems a bit of a reach to me.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Has something to do with it and I think we need to realize that Murray has been running through massive holes since taking over-well, before last week. Their OL is really shaping up too. T Smith is a great young player.

Tim (SLC)

Who's the best NFL analyst at ESPN?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

I am...right?

Greg (Birmingham)

How many more years does Adrian Peterson have left in his legs?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I actually think this has been the best Peterson has ever looked-which is saying a ton. Don't see any reason to think he is slowing down in the least. "Wyatt, I am in my prime..."

Larry (Pasco, WA)

Matt, love the chats. Thanks for answering our questions, and have a great turkey day tomorrow.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Thank you and you too Larry. All of you have a great holiday. Enjoy the fantastic games. Drop me a line on Twitter @WilliamsonNFL