Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 2, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Gary Horton

Buzzmaster
  (4:03 PM)

Gary is here!

Brian Alexis Oklahoma City [via mobile]

Are the Seahawks being overlooked by a lot of people?

Gary Horton
  (4:05 PM)

I think sometimes they get overlooked because they're a little bit in an isolated part of the country that doesn't get a lot of publicity. But I think everyone in the NFL knows how good they are. Most peoples' opinion says that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Seattle. They are expected to be the No. 1 seed. I believe they are a complete team who will even get better in the next month with Percy Harvin and a healthy run game, even if they are missing a couple of DBs.

Quanterus [via mobile]

How does champ Bailey's return from injury help the broncos to make a superbowl run?

Gary Horton
  (4:06 PM)

Honestly, at this stage of his career, it matters a lot. I think it's asking too much to expect him to be a shutdown corner and a difference maker in playoffs. I think his leadership and presence can certainly help this defense, but I'm not sure he's more than a role player right now.

RAYGORDONREID ( pensacola fl 32502)

question to gary caVEMANHORTON TONIGHT SAINTS OR SEAHWAKS

Gary Horton
  (4:07 PM)

I think Seattle will really try to be physical with their run game and Lynch. Not only because that is one of their strengths, but it also keeps Drew Brees off the field and it forces the Saints defense to blitz less and play more honest. As good as Seattle is, I don't think they want to get into a pssing shootout with Brees. I expect them, along with the crowd, to punch the Saints in the mouth early and impose their will and take them out of their game.

Harry (Babylon, NY)

Hi Gary - do you think Carolina will need to be the #2 seed if it has any chance to advance to the NFC Championship or can they be the 5 seed?

Gary Horton
  (4:11 PM)

Right now, it looks like the wild cards will be Carolina and San Francisco. I don't think either one of those teams would be overmatched if they went anywhere but Seattle. The reality is for Carolina, no matter where they are seeded, they're going to have to face the Seahawks. If they are a wild card, they're probably going to face the winner of the NFC East or NFC North and both of those teams would be beatable. In their second game, they'd likely have to play New Orleans or Seattle and that becomes a little tougher.

Paul (Denver)

Should Jeffery now be considered a #1 WR in only his second season? What's his upside at this point?

Gary Horton
  (4:13 PM)

His upside is huge. Especially because he's on the same team as Brandon Marshall. Keep in mind, for a long time, Marshall has been the only real option for this passing game and the Bears have forced him the ball on too many occasions to count. But, that gives Jeffery single matchups on usually the second best CB, and that's a situation that he can win. I think this passing game, with Marshall and Jeffery and TE Bennett, and even Matt Forte out of the backfield, is going to become something really exciting to watch. Not only do these guys have explosiveness and deep speed, but they also have size to go up and get the ball.

Alex (Anaheim)

How have the Giants been able to turn things around and win 5 of the last 6?

Gary Horton
  (4:15 PM)

I don't know that the Giants are all of a sudden a really good team. I just think they've played a lot of bad teams. They are a veteran group and a veteran coaching staff with a lot of experience and pride. I think their weaknesses are still exposed every week. Their margin for error is really small, but you have to give them credit for at least staying competitive. But I certainly don't see them as a team that's going to go on a four-week run right now and make it to the playoffs.

Charles (Columbus, OH)

Will the Bears award the oft injured Jay Cutler a big new contract given how well McGowan is playing for them?

Gary Horton
  (4:18 PM)

I think it's a really tough decision for Marc Trestman. I'm not sure that they're comfortable enough yet with the body of work that they've seen or not seen from Cutler. They really need these last four weeks to evaluate him as a guy that can lead them to the playoffs. I've watched some Bears offensive film today and as we've already talked about, this can become a very exciting offense, with as good a passing game as there is in the NFL. That might encourage the coaches to re-sign Cutler and roll the dice a little bit. We know he has good chemistry with Brandon Marshall already. I really like McCown, but I'm not sure he's a guy you can build your franchise around. But, we really need to see Cutler down the stretch or this becomes a tougher decision.

Harry (Babylon, NY)

Gary - considering the off season issues, inexperienced receiving corps and key injuries on both sides of the ball is this one of Bill Belichick's best seasons coaching, getting the most out of the Pats?

Gary Horton
  (4:22 PM)

Well, we seem to say that every year and it probably is the truth. I really believe that this organization, and that a lot of times means Belichick and Brady, feel like they can mold players into what they want them to be through what everyone calls "The Patriot Way." They demand improvement every day, so if you're a young guy on this roster, you have to get better or you're gone. I also think Belichick does a terrific job of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his players and putting them in situations to succeed and not asking them to do everything. You have a lot of role players. You have a lot of changing schemes. You're a team that adjusts gameplans from week to week and that takes smart, focused players and a strong coaching staff. I believe what separates the Patriots is that they're able to adjust to change better than anybody else in the league.

JC (Atlanta)

How good are the Chiefs? Two losses to Denver is not unexpected.

Gary Horton
  (4:25 PM)

I still think they're a good football team. They're going to be competitive in most games. I just don't think they're quite on the level of the Patriots or Broncos yet. It's a little hard to evaluate them in the last couple of weeks, because of their injuries on defense and fading pass rush, which was a big part of their early season success. They are so well coached, and they're a team that won't beat themselves a lot, that they will be in most games. They've just got to find a way to finish. I don't think there is any way that they start to fade now and they'll be very competitive the rest of the way.

Jim (Memphis)

Denver or NE going to be the #1 seed?

Gary Horton
  (4:26 PM)

Right now, I think New England will be that team. I think they have the softest closing schedule and I think they're really rounding into shape.

Gary Horton
  (4:26 PM)

It would not surprise me at all to see a Denver-New England rematch in the AFC title game.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Gary, do you think the Green Bay Packers will miss the playoffs this season?

Gary Horton
  (4:28 PM)

Yes I do. I think Detroit has now figured out they can run away with this division. I think that Green Bay will be really careful with Aaron Rodgers. If they shut him down the rest of the year, they don't have a chance. If Rodgers plays, they have a chance, but if Detroit plays up to their capabilities, I don't think anybody will catch them.

Harry (Babylon, NY)

Gary - as horrendous as the Jets offense has been this season doesn't some of the team's woes have to fall on the secondary's problems as well? They have been beat up and down the field all season.

Gary Horton
  (4:31 PM)

I think you're exactly right. We routinely expect this defense to be great with Rex Ryan. While the front seven has been good, especially the DL, the coverages have not been good. They've given up too many passing plays and their rookie CB Dee Milliner hasn't been close to being a good cover guy. I read every day about how Rex Ryan is fighting for his job, but he's not the only guy that picked Geno Smith and Milliner in the draft. While it's always dangerous to write off rookies too early, right now they certainly don't look like great draft picks.

Gary Horton
  (4:33 PM)

We're lucky to get a game like this on Monday Night Football in December. There is so much at stake for both teams. Really enjoy and study what you see, because we may get the same matchup in the NFC championship in January.