“I think this is the game of the weekend.” – King on Seattle-Philadelphia Wild Card Playoff game this Sunday on NBC
“Next year, I really believe we’ll come back with a vengeance and have a better year, and win.”– Kyler Murray on the Cardinals
“I was shocked. I can’t remember the Patriots losing a meaningful home game in December that they had to have.”– Tony Dungy on the Patriots loss to Miami on The Mike Tirico Podcast
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 30, 2019 – Peter King speaks with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray about his rookie season in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also recaps the final week of the regular season, including the sensational 49ers-Seahawks game, and looks ahead to the Wild Card playoffs.
Additionally, across NBC Sports, on The Mike Tirico Podcast, Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio recap Week 17, while Florio and Chris Simms break down all of the action across the NFL on PFT Live and Chris Simms Unbuttoned.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
WILD CARD PREVIEW
King on Buffalo at Houston: “The Texans have hope that J.J. Watt could return from a torn pectoral to buttress a defensive front that’s had trouble stopping big-armed quarterbacks like Buffalo’s Josh Allen—Houston’s given up 33 touchdown passes—and stopping running games of all sorts … The key to the game might be Buffalo wideout John Brown, who’s become a legitimate deep threat for Josh Allen and will certainly challenge the beatable Houston secondary.”
King on Tennessee at New England: “The stats don’t love New England here. The (Tom) Brady/ (Bill) Belichick Patriots have made the Super Bowl nine times, and each time they made it as a 1 or 2 seed in the AFC. In the three years they haven’t had a bye, they’ve lost prior to the Super Bowl. Look at their path here: Tennessee with rushing champ Derrick Henry and resurgent quarterback Ryan Tannehill first, then a potential hellscape of a run to the Super Bowl, potentially at Kansas City and at Baltimore in the span of eight days.”
King on Minnesota at New Orleans: “I just can’t see the Vikings knocking off the Saints. Drew Brees is his classic self in recent weeks, leading the Saints to 36.2 points a game in the last seven weeks, with 22 touchdowns and just one pick. I don’t trust (Kirk) Cousins to get in a shootout with Brees—who would?—and I don’t see the Viking secondary being able to slow the New Orleans attack.”
King on Seattle at Philadelphia: “This game likely will come down to which supporting cast can help a hot quarterback more. The Eagles are likely to put more pressure on (Russell) Wilson than the Seahawks on Carson Wentz, who has come alive with the weight of a franchise on his shoulders. I think this is the game of the weekend, and the NFL wisely put it in the window that usually garners the highest ratings.”
King on 49ers-Seahawks SNF thriller: “The 49ers deserved this victory. Right now, even though they got the benefit of some weirdness down the stretch, they’re better overall on both lines … As crazy as (the final 24 seconds of play) all was, I think the best team won.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank to King about retaining head coach Dan Quinn: “The words consistency and continuity are important (and) I think staying the course often makes sense … If you look at the history of the NFL, the organizations that have stayed their course, even through some tough times, are the smart ones.”
King on Browns: “The Browns find themselves in depths entering another new year, and this year hurts more than others. This year, Cleveland was supposed to be good again. Being the same old Browns just makes the pain more acute.”
King on Patriots: “I think it’s become clear that though this might not be the end of the great Patriots run, it’s certainly the end of something in New England. We just won’t know what that is for a while, till we see if Josh McDaniels or Tom Brady, or both, leave the organization.”
Murray on head coach Kliff Kingsbury: “There’s been a lot of leeway with Coach Kingsbury. Gave me a lot of freedom … The offense had a lot of similarities to what I was used to, which is why I kind of felt so comfortable at the beginning. Right away I felt I came to the right place.”
Murray on the pressure of living up to the number one pick in the 2019 NFL Draft: “Honestly . . . I don’t even think there was . . . I don’t want to say pressure . . . Obviously, being young in the league you’re going to have ups and downs, but it was never because of pressure. I’m just kind of living the dream, you know?”
Murray on Larry Fitzgerald: “Best I can say is Larry, he doesn’t make it feel like he’s Larry Fitzgerald. Honestly, he kind of blends in. He’s one of the guys … But he’s really taught us how to be pros.”
Murray on his future in the NFL: “This year was just, sort of, laying the foundation. We just didn’t win enough, obviously. Next year, I really believe we’ll come back with a vengeance and have a better year, and win.”
KING’S WEEK 17 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco; Derrick Henry, Tennessee; Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami; & Elandon Roberts, New England.
King on Henry: “The newly minted NFL rushing champion of the NFL’s 100th season keyed the playoff-enabling victory for Tennessee against rival Houston.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco, & Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay.
King on Greenlaw: “The rookie from Arkansas made the play of his life when his team needed it the most. On fourth and goal with 12 seconds left, Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister caught the ball at the 1-yard line and turned to find the end zone. The 2019 fifth-round pick buried Hollister, who fell an inch shy of the goal line. Greenlaw finished the game with 13 tackles, and his last gave the 49ers the NFC’s top seed.”
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of The Mike Tirico Podcast:
Tony Dungy on the Patriots loss to Miami: “I was shocked, I can’t remember the Patriots losing a meaningful home game in December that they had to have.”
Rodney Harrison on the Chiefs: “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, playing complementary football. You know they have a great offense and put points up on the board, but now the defense with Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones and those guys, they’re playing well.”
Mike Florio on the Bills: “I think the Bills are a team that has been steady all year long. I almost feel like the Bills are a team that has yet to figure out how good they are. All they need is that one win where they can convince themselves we are one of the best teams in this conference and that can open up the floodgates.”
The following are clips from last night’s edition of Football Night in America:
- Simms draws up Dolphins’ game-winning TD vs. Pats: Chris Simms draws up the Dolphins’ game-winning touchdown pass against the Patriots in Week 17.
- Thanks Mom: George Kittle: 49ers tight end George Kittle shares a special message with his mom and thanks her for her continued support throughout the years.
- Liam McHugh with Walter Jones: Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Jones joins Liam McHugh on Football Night in America to talk about how he found out that he was named to the NFL 100 team, how he would slow down 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, and what he remembers from the “Beast Quake” game.
- Week 17 Recap: The Football Night in America crew recap the final week of the regular season and look ahead to the Wild Card playoffs.
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage heading into Wild Card weekend:
- Mike Florio and Chris Simms, with guest Peter King, discuss all things NFL on PFT Live, including handing out their Week 17 superlatives, sharing updated power rankings, and making their Wild Card game picks.
- On Chris Simms Unbuttoned, Simms deep dives into film of two games from Week 17 decided by the fans.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.