Boomer Esiason (Westwood One/WFAN): Outspoken and entertaining. Did you know the co-host of CBS’s The NFL Today has been calling MNF for the last decade on Westwood One radio? He hosts the No. 1 morning radio show in New York, the biggest media market in the country. Oh, and Authentic Paul Kariya Jersey did I mention Boomer spent two seasons as an MNF analyst at ABC Sports? (Esiason blamed Al Michaels for his ouster.)
Josina Anderson (ESPN): Smart, fearless, plugged-in. Nobody did a better job chronicling the raging Dumpster fire that was the Giants this season. Classy, confident presence on TV. Why does an analyst job have to go to an ex-player/coach, anyway? Why not an NFL insider who can bring a new and different perspective? Anderson could be the one.
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Last season as the No. 2 seed, it was a 36-20 win over the Seahawks, and followed with a 44-21 victory over the Packers. This year, Atlanta fell to No. 6 and the wild card because their offense wasn’t nearly the same, losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers and Matt Ryan not throwing MVP-caliber passes.
Atlanta survived the regular season and now is advancing to next Saturday’s divisional playoff game in Philadelphia (4:35 p.m. ET, NBC) because it keeps making all the little defensive plays to make up for the sudden lack of big offensive ones.
The coach anticipated he would be dealing with some discussion about this decision, though. The question is a real thing. I’m used to the question, Tomlin said. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the question, because the scenario, the variables around the question, are good for us. I’m not overly concerned about it, to be honest with you.
Some have compared the Steelers’ decision to rest Roethlisberger and company with Indianapolis resting Peyton Manning in 2005 the season Pittsburgh went into Indy and won in the divisional round, then went on to win Super Bowl XL but there is a significant difference. Manning rested the final two regular-season games and the playoff bye week, which meant he went 27 days between games. Manning also lost in the divisional round when he played the final regular-season game in 2007, which means it’s a stretch to draw any conclusions.