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September 5, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Let's do this! Happy Opening Night to all of you!

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, how well do you think the Vikings matchup against the Jaguars on Sunday? I think the Vikings can win this game. Do you agree?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Def think they can win. No question. Pretty evenly matched teams really. Can't see a lot of scoring in that one either. Allen could have a big game, but JAX will do everything to get the ball out quick.

John (Boston)

Hi Matt - Happy opening day! are the Patriots trying to corner the market on tight ends? Having signed Aaron Hernandez long term (and avoiding the potentially higher wr franchise tag number) is he basically a wr now? Can we expect #1 wr numbers from him this year? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

I think BB realizes that he has something unique that much of the NFL is trying to copy in Hernandez and Gronk...so he locked them up-wisely. Hernandez is just as much WR as he is TE-and could even be flexed out more going forward-so great after the catch. It is all about numbers though. If the D labels him a WR, then he can line up inline and they often run the ball vs. lighter personnel. If they label him a TE, then he gets great matchups vs. LBs much of the time.

Matt (Toronto, ON)

Any concerns with Nicks tonight? Is Dez the top dawg this year or is Austin still in the convo? Thanks for the chat

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Hard to guess on injuries/Nicks, but he has often done very well on game day when battling injury in the past. I do think Dez is the top dawg in Big D over Austin, but most because Austin isn't real healthy now. Dez is a total wild card-so inconsistent, but capable of utter greatness

Will (NY)

How many carries do you think Maurice Jones-Drew will get in Week 1? Also, How do you feel about the Bengals run game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Would think MJD gets around 10-12 touches (including catches) this week-and his work load goes up quick after that. As for Cincy's run game, I am not a fan. I think BJGE benefitted a ton from the O he was in in NENG-you just can't stack boxes vs. the Pats O. And he is mostly an interior runner-and the Bengals interior OL is really beaten up now. Don't like it.

Brett (Ottawa)

Matt do you see any mismatches between the Packers passing O and the 49ers passing D or is it just going to be strength vs strength everywhere

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

Obviously a great D and great O, but I think GB's Passing attack is superior to SF's Pass D. Just so many weapons and I don't love SF's secondary overall. Plus Rodgers....

Mike (Madison)

Is Romo going to have any time to throw tonight?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I really don't think so, which is why I like NYG tonight

Michael (Cincinnati)

We're not talking fantasy football today for the love of God! It's FOOTBALL season. Save the fantasy for Berry, Joyner, etc...

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Was about to post something very much along those lines Michael! I might answer a "Who should I start?" question here and there, but it NFL time Fellas.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Does Nate Solder just have the wrong frame (6-8, 320) to play LT? If you're 6-8, shouldn't you be 360? If you're 320, shouldn't you be 6-2?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

That is too general. But he is light and needs to add strength. Former TE turned OT. And at that height, it is very difficult to play with great leverage, esp against guys like Dumvervil, Freeney and Harrison off the edge.

Aggie (TX)

MDub, been missing the chat last few times. Don't you think the Phins are poised for a top 3 pick?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I do. I think they know this is going to be a terrible year-just acquiring draft picks for the future. I just hope it doesn't do too much damage to Tannehill.

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Made a quick appearance on today's podcast to break down tonight's game: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8340063

Anthony (NYC:NY)

If I were you I'd make it a ritual by playing "Welcome to the Jungle" every Weds before the chat. What a way to start huh?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

It is certainly a fantastic request, but I slightly prefer For Those About To Rock or Paradise City....esp the openings to those tunes

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

"Looks That Kill" on now though...can't complain with that either

Blueman (Indy)

At some point this year does Dwight Freeney become the highest paid nickle pass rush specialist in NFL history?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

I don't think so. Just not sure that he has enough greatness ahead of him.

Adam (KC)

How bad could the KC-ATL game get Sunday if the Chiefs play without Hali, DJ and Flowers? Any idea how likely that is to happen?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

That would be a HUGE problem. KC's D has looked terrible this preseason-they need Flowers back in a huge way.

Mark (Boston)

What kind of an impact do you see Brandon Lloyd having in the Pats' passing game?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Massive. I do worry about their OL right now, but they really need a deep threat/outside the numbers option. Could be the best O in the NFL now-if it wasn't already.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

People talk too much about Dwight Freeney as if he is overrated....he may be past leaving his prime, but the guy was once the master of his craft at his position.

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Without question. And I think he ends up in Canton-deservedly so. One of the top few pass rushers of this generation.

Nick (Sacramento)

Do you think that the Niners can actually beat the Pac? And if they do what does that mean in terms of the NFC North going forward?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

People often ask questions like "CAN they win"...sure, they CAN. Will I pick SF? Nope

Ted (RI)

Buying the Buffalo hype?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Somewhat. Love their DL-esp the DTs actually. D will be tough to play against and Wannstadt should help tremendously as well. As for the O-I like it, esp the running game. But they need to get the ball out quick and they feature so many WRs, but really, they just have one weapon at WR or TE in Johnson.

Matt (Houston)

Short and sweet: Eli or Vick?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

Eli. Consistency. Durability. Plays the position how it needs to be played.

Aggie (TX)

If Laron Landry stays healthy, is he key to Jets D over middle of field?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Most Def...esp against NEng

Rob (San Antonio)

How about "For Whom the Bell Tolls?" What team do you think will take the biggest step backwards this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Another great call by you..."Ride the Lightning" is great stuff too. Backwards? I will go with SF. Expecting a 9-7 type season from the Niners.

Tony Romo (NY)

MW- IF I do get some time, I am licking my chops! Dez and Miles vs. that secondary? Yes please! And Eli may not get a lot of time either. We shall see...

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

All good points. Ratliff being out is big though too for interior pressure.

Aggie (TX)

Cam Jordan or Muhammad Wilkerson, which makes a bigger leap this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Good question...I like both. But I prefer Jordan.

Paul (Albany, OR)

Does Detroit punish the Rams this weekend? Is there a scenario where St. Louis can actually win this game? Thank you.

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

The Lions DL vs. Rams OL spells doom for STL

Brittany (Columbus, Ohio)

Big Eagles fan!! Do you think the loss of OT Jason Peters could be the difference maker for the Eagles in deciding if they make the play offs or not?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Fantastic player and Bell hasn't played great, but I do like Bell overall as a starting caliber LT. But yes, it hurts. Esp in the running game-McCoy went left a ton when they needed a key yard or two. I will still pick Philly to win division though.

Bert (St. Paul)

You Really Got Me was a GREAT cover of a very good song, and really gets me amped up. What is your scouting report on Alfred Morris as a RB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Good call on You Really Got Me for sure. Morris is a real good fit for Shanny's scheme. Not a dancer and he lays some wood on contact. Doesn't have real light feet or elusiveness, but has that Mike Anderson feel to him.

Tom (NY)

Are you still bullish on Trent Richardson this year if he stays healthy?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

I am...but must say, would like to see the guy in a Browns uniform actually!

Ryan (San Diego)

What is with the media love affair with the Chiefs? I look at their roster and say to myself "I just don't get it". Last I checked Cassell was still their qb right?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

I wrote an INSIDER article a few weeks ago saying why I thought KC would win their division. Since then, they have played terribly and are quite beat up on D. Second thoughts? Not yet, but certainly some doubt.

Kevin (Poquoson, VA)

In five to ten years, are we discussing Calvin Johnson as the greatest receiver ever?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Could be. Awfully special. Just an amazing combo of size/strength/speed/athletic ability. Still not a super refined route runner though yet.

Aggie (TX)

I haven't heard anyone talk about how/if the weather will effect the game tonight. Apparently the wether is almost 100% rain, so how will this effect Romo and Eli?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

I actually hadn't heard that until now, but that could be a great equalizer. I don't like the Dallas interior OL, but they might have the better running game of the two teams. Could slow down NYG's pass rush too.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

Jerry Rice is the greatest WR ever. Period. It's not debateable. I love me some Megatron, but Jerry Rice is and will always be the best WR to ever play football....

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Obvioulsy Calvin J-or ANYone-has a super long way to go to be in Rice's class. But don't think for one minute that it is impossible for someone to someday surpass the Great Jerry Rice

COACH BEAMER (Norfolk, Va)

Big Mike Vick fan. M-Dub... are u getting the feeling you can't teach an old dog new tricks? If he stays healthy, do you have high expectations for him this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

I have huge expectations for Vick this year. Will injuries/durability always be an issue? Probably-he just isnt' that big and his style of play lends itself to a lot of hits. But I expect Vick to put up monster numbers this season when on the field

Mike (NY)

M-Dub, How do you feel about the Bills O Line? Fitz wasn;t sacked a ton last year and Glenn looked good in preseason at LT.

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

Fitz was not sacked much, but I think Gailey's scheme deserves more credit for that than the Bills' OLinemen. I do like a few of their guys a lot-Wood & Levitre-and I think Glenn will turn into a quality player. But that O is all about getting it out real quick-they don't ask a lot from their OL in protection.

Jalky (Dodgeville MI)

Who has more value this season both in real and fake football...K Hunter, Turbin, or Jacquizz?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Lynch has had back issues before and is again now. That worries me. Turbin looked great in the preseason and is more of a work horse than those other guys you mentioned. Unlike those two though, Turbin needs Lynch to be out to really have a huge impact.

Aggie (TX)

Not considering QBs, which is most complete NFL team?My votes are KC, Philly, ?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Not considering QB? Hmmm...KC & SF come to mind

Tarek (NYC)

Paradise City best GNR sounds, non stop Metal! As a Raider fan should I be excited that my new GM and coach cut ties to there CB from last year? This year may be wash but i like the direction they are taking the team in.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

No doubt-about Paradise City and the Raiders. That staff didn't have any cards in their hand to play this year, but they are the right guys for that very difficult job.

chauncey (teaneck)

so who puts up better numbers this year Vick or Eli?

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Will go with Vick. I think Eli is the superior NFL QB, but that isn't what you asked.

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

BTW, I will be hosting four Cover it Live chats this week-including tonight's game

Rob (San Antonio)

Okay, with the Decastro injury and Adams developing slower than anticipated do you think Big Ben will have more sacks this year or will Haley's offense help in that regard?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

I like the move of Colon to LG though. The rooks don't seem to be helping, but the starting five now is still much better than what Ben had a year ago.

Evan (Boston)

Do you think David Wilson seriously challenges Bradshaw this year? I really like his explosiveness...

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

I def think so. Really don't think Bradshaw is still equipped to handle a huge work load. And I bet Wilson slowly eats into his carry %...eventually becoming the lead RB.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

How often do you see Charles Woodson lining up at Safety? Even at his advanced age, I think Woodson might have another career year...

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Quite a bit. Great spot for him. His role/position is often difficult to define though. Will be all over the field as usual and will be asked to do a ton-as usual. Expecting a strong season from Woodson myself, esp with a better GB pass rush.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, do you think the Packers' defense will show a big improvement in their ranking, perhaps approaching the middle of the pack (no pun intended)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

I don't think it will be great and it might be difficult to maintain such a high # of takeaways. But the pass rush should be better-and that can go a long way!

Devin Brooks (OHIO)

Hey Matt, PLEASE ANSWER DONT BE MEAN TO ME Do you think trent Richardson play this weekend, and if so.. do you think he gets 20-25 carries? I am thinking he have a great year like Peyton Hillis did in 2010.. you agreed..

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Don't be mean to you? Hmmm....I might just have to be now! I do think he plays and I bet he ends up with the bulk of the carries. And yes, I expect a ton of touches all year from Richardson, who is incredibly talented. Could have a giant year, but it will be tough sledding.

Devin Brooks (OHIO)

FINE DONT ANSWER ME.. I WILL SEE YOU ONE DAY.. AND ASK YOU A QUESTION JUST LIKE YOU DO THE PLAYERS.. I WILL BUG YOU AND BUG YOU

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Wow...I really should not have posted your comment! Ed, are you here or are you on strike? Please deal with Devin for me.

Jalky (Dodgeville MI)

Most folks seem to think R Brown will be the man in place of R Mathews, however, after watching C Brinkley vs the Pack in preseason it is apparent that he has burst and skills. Could he surprise?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

He showed a little last year too. I just think Norv wants a big heavy pounder for most of the heavy lifting. I would bet Brinkley gets 5 to 8 carries though.

Bertha (Maine)

What did you think of the half season Breaking Bad finale?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Hard core...Hard core....gonna miss it

paul (kc)

how much of a factor do you think dontari poe will be for the chiefs this year

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Guessing he is eased in slowly, but as the season goes on, he makes more and more of an impact.

Ed Hochuli (OHIO)

Devin, that's a 2 chat penalty for excessive berating of the chat host. You are kicked out of this chat and the subsequent MW chat. Please leave the site. It remains 1st down.

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

I will pay you what you deserve Ed...glad you still have my back

Frank (Boston)

Does Kenricks on Philly have a shot for DROY?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

No question. FAST! Playmaker. I really like this guys. I did pick Chandler Jones as the DROY, but it is real tough for DL to get it. LBs have the best chance and of the LBs, you gotta think Kendricks, David and Keuchley are the favorites.

Rob (San Antonio)

Does that make Ed a scab?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Ed is my Luca Brasi

Kevin (Poquoson, VA)

If David Wilson that much better than Ahmad Bradshaw?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

Really like/liked Bradshaw. Plays hard! Tough. But I just expect deminishing skills at a rapid pace for him-and Wilson looks fantastic.

Aggie (TX)

What makes Kuechly so special? High football IQ?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

For sure, but way better athletic ability than most give him credit for. Excellent tackler. Good vs. run and pass. Just ALWAYS around the ball.

Kent (Huntsville, TX)

Who is the Defense to beat this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

My two favs are SF and SEA

Lou (Denver)

Who ends up with better numbers this year, Gronk or Hernandez? Gronk more TDs Hernandez more yards?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Exactly. Gronk is unstoppable near the goal line. Hernandez should get at least as many targets as Gronk though.

Michael (Cincinnati)

Super sleeper Defense: Cincinnati Bungals.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Not totally buying it....too worried about their secondary

Rob (San Antonio)

Which defense looks older this year; Pitt or Baltimore?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

BALT will look older, but I do love their young CBs. Just think Reed and Lewis can't have a ton left. PGH has some new blood-just not big name guys

Gus (FL)

I see you didn't put Bruce Irvin on your top rookies list. Do you think he's going to struggle to get to the QB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

He just hasn't blown me away in the preseason and I expect him to only be a passing downs player.

Torrey Smith (Baltimore)

M Dub... you think i'll be one of the best wrs in the AFC NORTH?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Would put you fourth behind Green and the two Steelers. But expecting a big season from you this year. Flacco looked your way a ton in preseason. And wow, you can get deep!

Jalky (Dodgeville MI)

How many starting qbs will Arizona have this year? The guess here is four including one that isn't on the roster at the moment.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Wow, big number! I actually like Lindley. Could see him starting the last few games after the top 2 fail.

Nick (OK)

Does Kuechley remind you of a young Brian Urlacher?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Not as impressive physically as Urlacher.

Johnny (Denver)

Over/Under 5.5 for Derek Wolfe sacks this year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

Good line. I like him esp as an interior pass rusher in DEN goes to their subpackages. Disruptive guy. Will go wtih 5 sacks though.

Michael (Cincinnati)

If top 5 in the division is considered one of the best...

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

Talking about T Smith? I ranked him fourth. But there are only 8 starting WRs in the division. If each team keeps 5, then he is the 4th best WR out of 20, I suppose that is one of the best. But couldn't you say that about every starter?

Rob (San Antonio)

Do you start Urlacher if he says he is ready or do you make the decision not too if he really isn't?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

That is what you pay the docs big bucks for Brother

Bert (St. Paul)

Will Chris Rainy be the next best thing to Darren Sproles?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Doubt he can handle as many touches as Sproles. Not an inside runner like Sproles.

Matt (Toronto, ON)

The same Luca Brasi that gets killed?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Price you pay for the life you chose

Jon (IN)

Realistic expectations for the newly-designed Colts? 7 wins?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Indy fans should do jumping jacks if you get to 7 wins! I just think once a few injuries set in, that roster is in big trouble. No depth.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Who is more likely to get old this year and lose their starting job - Turner or Gore?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Can I say Both? But I guess Turner. Doesn't fit what ATL now wants to do and I don't see the burst he once had.

Jalky (Dodgeville MI)

Does K Rudolph crack the TE top ten this year or does Ponder and the lack of weapons hold him back?

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Ponder won't hold him back-will help. A guy like Rudolph is perfect for Ponder. LOVE Rudolph here. Top 10 TE for sure

Mike (Stl)

What do you think the impact of new refs.?

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

I can't stand it. I actually feel bad for them-just in WAY over their heads. We need Ed.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Folks, I am out. Great chat. Stop by next week & drop me a line on Twitter @WilliamsonNFL