“Daboll might be the modern-day (Bill) Parcells. He and his coaches have schemed a team with C talent to play at a B-plus level for two months.” – King on Giants head coach Brian Daboll
“They’re the clear Super Bowl favorites as November dawns.” – Peter King on the Bills
“Teams can change a lot from October to January. Andy Reid has time to turn that around and catch Buffalo, but it’ll be a chore.” – King on the Chiefs
“I can’t even put into words how happy I am. It’s a crazy journey in the NFL. You see this stuff happen and you never think it’ll happen to you. But it has. I’m glad it did.” – 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey to King on being traded to San Francisco
STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 31, 2022 – Peter King speaks with 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey and assesses the best teams and players at the NFL’s midseason point in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses the Bills’ dominance, Bill Belichick’s legacy, A.J. Brown’s impact on the Eagles, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY & 49ERS
49ers RB Christian McCaffrey to Peter King on throwing a touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk: “Let it rip. Let it rip, you know? It’s there. The play’s there. You just gotta make it…I just thought, if (Aiyuk) is open by a step, let it rip. I knew when the corner came up a little [and Aiyuk had a step on two safeties], he was gonna make the catch if I put it out there. That’s not an easy catch. He had to turn his shoulder for the ball, and he made me look really good.”
McCaffrey to King on being the fourth player since 1970 to throw, catch, and run for a touchdown in the same game: “It feels good. Really good. It’s a cool stat, but there’s a bigger stat. The win. To be able to go into a winning locker room, with great players, on a new team with so many guys who can make plays, it’s just exciting.”
McCaffrey to King on being traded from the Panthers to the 49ers: “This has been such a weird two weeks. I grew up in the business so I understand it’s a business but you don’t really know how to act until you experience the actual event. I didn’t think about where I’d go till I got the call from [Carolina GM] Scott Fitterer.”
McCaffrey to King: “It was weird. I practiced that Thursday, went to meetings that Thursday, went home, and [Fitterer] called, and the next day, early, I was on a flight and practiced with the 49ers Friday. It’s a crazy league. But I loved the 49ers run game.”
McCaffrey to King: “I can’t even put into words how happy I am. It’s a crazy journey in the NFL. You see this stuff happen and you never think it’ll happen to you. But it has. I’m glad it did.”
KING’S MIDSEASON RANKINGS
|3.||Kansas City||19.||Green Bay|
|12.||New York Giants||28.||Carolina|
|13.||Los Angeles Rams||29.||Jacksonville|
|14.||Los Angeles Chargers||30.||Cleveland|
|16.||New York Jets||32.||Houston|
King on the Bills at No. 1: “They’re the clear Super Bowl favorites as November dawns.”
King on the Eagles at No. 2: “There’s a pretty big line of demarcation between the Bills and everyone. I’ll take the Eagles as the biggest threat, with a defense that’s allowed 17 points or fewer in five of their last six, and a quarterback that’s pretty damn ready for the big stage.”
King on the Chiefs at No. 3: “Teams can change a lot from October to January. Andy Reid has time to turn that around and catch Buffalo, but it’ll be a chore.”
King on the Cowboys at No. 4: “This is the one team at or near the top that could win a playoff game in January 13-9 if it had to. And in a season when scoring is down, that matters.”
King on the Ravens at No. 9: “The Mark Andrews shoulder injury is concerning, but Lamar Jackson loves rookie alternative Isaiah Likely. Here’s an edge: None of Ravens’ next eight foes are over .500.”
King on the Dolphins at No. 11: “Dolphins are 5-0 when Tua Tagovailoa starts and plays at least three quarters of the game…Averaging just 1.9 sacks per game, I wonder how motivated they’ll be to go chase Bradley Chubb before the trade deadline.”
King on the Giants at No. 12: “Craziest team in this crazy season. Maybe we should just accept that smart coaches—Brian Daboll, of course, and underrated Mike Kafka and Wink Martindale—can put players in position to win late in games.”
King on the Jets at No. 16: “I don’t see how the Jets compete at a high level with a quarterback playing like Zach Wilson.”
King on the Packers at No. 19: “I don’t see it turning around, but I might change my mind if GM Brian Gutekunst gets a trusted receiver (Chase Claypool? Nelson Agholor?) before Tuesday’s deadline.”
King on the Buccaneers at No. 20: “I don’t see it turning around.”
KING’S MIDSEASON AWARDS
MVP: 1. Josh Allen, Buffalo, 2. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia, 3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City, 4. Geno Smith, Seattle, 5. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
King on Allen: “Allen, best player on the best team having his best season, beat the former MVP and Super Bowl winner (Patrick Mahomes) on his turf in week six (“Josh Allen feels impossible to play against,” the former Kansas City tackle, Mitchell Schwartz, tweeted Sunday night. Schwartz is right.).”
Coach of the Year: 1. Brian Daboll, New York Giants, 2. Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia, 3. Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota, 4. Mike Vrabel, Tennessee, 5. Robert Saleh, New York Jets
King on Daboll: “Daboll might be the modern-day (Bill) Parcells. He and his coaches have schemed a team with C talent to play at a B-plus level for two months.”
Offensive Rookie of the Year: 1. Kenneth Walker, Seattle, 2. Dameon Pierce, Houston, 3. Chris Olave, New Orleans, 4. Drake London, Atlanta, 5. Robert Hainsey, Tampa Bay
Defensive Player of the Year: 1. Micah Parsons, Dallas, 2. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, 3. Matt Milano, Buffalo, 4. Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants, 5. Von Miller, Buffalo
King on Parsons: “Parsons strikes me as the most impactful defender of the first half, the player who does the most to keep offensive coordinators up at night, with eight sacks and at least four near-misses for more.”
Defensive Rookie of the Year: 1. Sauce Gardner, New York Jets, 2. Jaquan Brisker, Chicago, 3. Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit, 4. Jack Jones, New England, 5. Kyler Gordon, Chicago
Executive of the Year: 1. Howie Roseman, Philadelphia, 2. John Schneider, Seattle, 3. Joe Schoen, New York Giants, 4. Joe Douglas, New York Jets, 5. Brandon Beane, Buffalo
King on Roseman: “Roseman’s trade for A.J. Brown and draft of Jordan Davis on the same day last April made this a good year to begin with, and that’s before considering the addition of four defensive starters—linebackers Kyzir White and Haason Redick and corner James Bradberry in free-agency, and corner-turned-safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson in trade.”
KING’S WEEK 8 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: A.J. Brown, Philadelphia, Derrick Henry, Tennessee, Tyreek Hill & Jaylen Waddle, Miami, & Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco
King on Brown’s performance against the Steelers: “In the first half alone against Pittsburgh, (Jalen) Hurts and Brown linked up five times for 113 yards—including touchdown receptions of 39, 27 and 29 yards in the first 25 minutes of the half. Pretty good trade, Howie Roseman.”
King on Hill and Waddle: “These guys are superior beings. They are on the way to having the best year a receiving tandem has ever had, averaging 14 catches and 211 yards per game in the Dolphins’ 5-3 start.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota, Devin McCourty, New England, Tyrann Mathieu, New Orleans, & Lorenzo Carter, Atlanta
Coach of the Week: Bill Belichick, New England
Special Teams Players of the Week: Nick Folk, New England, & Leki Fotu, Arizona
Goats of the Week: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville, & Zach Wilson, New York Jets
King on Wilson’s performance in the Jets’ loss to the Patriots: “The reason the Jets lost a 13th straight game to the team every Jet fan loves to hate is on one person: Zach Wilson.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick moving into second place on the all-time coaching wins list: “Part of Belichick’s greatness has been his ability to rally a down team and gameplan with odds against him and his players… Now what will mean something to Belichick is figuring a way with very shaky quarterback play to get this team into the playoffs.”
King on Cowboys RB Tony Pollard: “I think I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again in the wake of his 131-yard, three-TD performance against Chicago on Sunday: Tony Pollard is the best running back on the Cowboys.”
A top NFL club official to King on their predictions for this week’s trade deadline: “This deadline will be disappointing. I don’t see the desperate buyers, and the sellers want way too much. And some of the teams that should be selling, at least right now, aren’t.”
King on Bradley Chubb potentially being traded at the deadline: “A well-plugged-in GM told me over the weekend the Jets and Dolphins are interested, and interested enough to consider dealing a first-rounder for Chubb. But to make that deal for a significant price, Miami or New York, or any team, would have to have a deal done with Chubb beyond this year.”
King on the Rams at the trade deadline: “I can’t see them trading two first-round picks, or maybe a first- and a second-, for Carolina’s (Brian) Burns without getting a contract done for the 24-year-old first.”
King on the Giants trading WR Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs: “In the right offense and motivated to be a big outside threat for Patrick Mahomes, (Toney) could well come alive there. But he was an attitude problem and injury problem pretty consistently with the Giants…I think GM Joe Schoen did well in getting a second-day pick plus a late choice for such a tarnished player.”
King on the 2021 QB draft class: “I think this is the hazard of picking quarterbacks: Of the five who have played prominent roles since being drafted in 2021—Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Davis Mills – zero are sure franchise players and a year-and-a-half into their careers. That’s scary.”
King on the NFL’s handling of the Daniel Snyder investigation: “How there hasn’t been a discussion about Snyder in private owner sessions is more surprising. And (Colts owner Jim) Irsay is not the only owner unhappy that the whole Snyder issue has been shrouded in secrecy. That part of the story is not over either.”
Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.
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- The NFL on NBC YouTube channel offers daily football content for free, with exclusive videos from Peter King – including his interviews with players and coaches at training camps – Mike Florio, Chris Simms, and more. To access all of these videos and more, click here to subscribe
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 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 PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.