FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 7th, 2020
PETER KING DISCUSSES NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE, INCLUDING SURGING GIANTS AND BROWNS, IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN
“Winning in Seattle, winning four straight…and people actually starting to think, You know, you really might not want to play the Giants in January.” – King
“Four weeks to go, and I think it’s Mahomes-Rodgers-Roethlisberger.” – King on the MVP race
“The more I watch Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson, the more I think we’re watching the next superstar in the NFL.” – King
“This feels like the Road to 270, except this is for the playoffs…It’s a very similar thing to election night. I felt it right away.” – NBC News Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki to King on forecasting the NFL playoffs on Football Night in America
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 7, 2020 – Peter King discusses the NFL playoff picture, including the surging Giants and Browns, in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also hands out his weekly awards, discusses the news and notes from around the league in Week 13, and speaks with Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett, Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams, and NBC News political correspondent Steve Kornacki, who joined last night’s Football Night in America to analyze NFL playoff probabilities.
Across NBC Sports this week, Peacock’s weekday block of NFL programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. On Monday, Safety Blitz, featuring Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth, streams at 6 p.m. ET, and Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss Week 13.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
NEW YORK GIANTS
King on the Giants: “The Giants taking over first place in the NFC East without Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, winning in Seattle, winning four straight…and people actually starting to think, You know, you really might not want to play the Giants in January…In the NFL, nothing is forever. Even bad Giants football.”
King on the Giants start to the season: “Eight weeks ago, the Giants lost 37-34 in Dallas to fall to 0-5. Looked very much like a lost season, even in the wasteland that was the NFC East…Since that 0-5 start, the Giants are 5-2, with the two losses agonizing ones traced to turnovers.”
King on Giants GM Dave Gettleman: “Interesting, really, that public enemy number one for Giants’ fans, GM Dave Gettleman, has worked well with (head coach Joe) Judge and gotten him the caliber of player Judge wants…Gettleman’s drafts, particularly on defense, have been very good.”
Giants DL Leonard Williams to King on the team’s turnaround: “I think majority of it has to do with I think how much people are just bought in on this team. The overall team energy of how we come to work every day…We know who we have in the building and we come to work every day and I think just over time, it just creates such a good culture of hard work and just grit.”
King on the Giants staying in Seattle last night: “(Judge) believes in regular sleep. Most NFL teams, on West-to-East or East-to-West trips, get out of town as fast as they can and get home often times at odd hours…The Giants stayed in Seattle overnight Sunday…Instead of two iffy nights of sleep and then a recovery one Tuesday night, the Giants, theoretically, wouldn’t have a bad night of sleep leading into the next game week.”
Williams on Judge: “When we first got Judge, honestly, we realized how hard he was on us…But then we realized how much he cares about winning and he cares about us being successful. He just does such a good job of getting guys to buy in.”
King on Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham: “Someday we’ll find out why Miami coach Brian Flores let defensive coordinator Patrick Graham walk away after one season. Whatever happened, the Giants are grateful.”
King on the Browns: “The Browns looking like playoff locks, and Baker Mayfield looking like how the first pick in a draft should look.”
King on Mayfield: “Baker Mayfield was legit in a big game…Seeing that they might have to beat explosive teams like Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Kansas City – perhaps in that order – should they make the playoffs having a big-strike offense is almost essential to January success.”
Browns DE Myles Garrett to King: “We’re just looking to be 1-0 and to win the day. That’s not just Sundays, that’s every day in practice competing, making sure that we’re there with that one mission in mind. We just go out there and play. Not much thinking, just being out there playing.”
Garrett on the Browns’ plan for tackling Tennessee RB Derrick Henry: “Show up violently against him, and grab a body part. You gotta ride him and knock him to the ground. For the most part, we did a good job.”
Garrett on his first game back since recovering from COVID: “Having COVID is a helpless feeling, and not only being helpless to help my team but being so weak, so tired. Just so sore, that I just don’t wanna move. My body’s just hurting for no reason…Pretty dang tired.”
NFL PLAYOFFS & STEVE KORNACKI
King: “Steve Kornacki, the khakied one, knows voting trends…He knows football too. So NBC put him on the big (playoff) board Sunday night in the Football Night in America studio.”
Kornacki to King: “This feels like the Road to 270, except this is for the playoffs…It’s a very similar thing to election night. I felt it right away.”
King on Kornacki’s playoff forecasting of Vikings and Cardinals: “Tiebreakers put the 6-6 Vikings as the seventh seed in the NFC this morning, with 6-6 Arizona out of the money at eight. But the PFF data suggest Arizona has a 52 percent chance to make the playoffs and Minnesota 32 percent.”
Kornacki: “When I saw those numbers, I did a double take. I went back to Pro Football Focus. I said, ‘Are you sure about this?’ In my mind, I’d put them even right now.”
Kornacki on the Giants: “Assuming that Pittsburgh beats Washington, I think the Giants probability number would probably move north of 50 percent.”
Kornacki on being a Patriots fan: “But not a recent one. I’m a Pats fan from the 1-15 years.”
WEEK 13 NEWS & NOTES
King on the COVID-impacted season: “Now the challenging part: getting the last 64 games in while the pandemic spreads and people move inside.”
King on the MVP race: “Four weeks to go, and I think it’s (Patrick) Mahomes-(Aaron) Rodgers-(Ben) Roethlisberger, with Mahomes-Rodgers very much still a race.”
King on the Coach of the Year race: “Coach of the Year at the 74-percent mark of the season: 1) Mike Tomlin, 2) Kevin Stefanski, 3) Brian Flores.”
King on the Patriots’ 45-0 win vs. the Chargers: “Someday we’ll find out how, in a game the Patriots won by 45 points, their starting quarterback threw for 69 yards and the New Englander with the most receptions (James White, 3) had one yard receiving.”
King on Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn: “Future’s not looking so good for Anthony Lynn. New England 45, Chargers 0, and yes, it was that ugly. His team is imploding before our eyes…The Chargers might not be able to be loyal to him entering an offseason of intense ticket-selling in a huge market that hasn’t been altogether welcoming.”
King on Bears head coach Matt Nagy: “Two years after winning Coach of the Year, Matt Nagy could be a victim of the Save Mitchell Trubisky Campaign gone awry.”
King on Vikings WR Justin Jefferson: “The more I watch Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson (61 catches, 1,039 yards, 17.0 per catch), the more I think we’re watching the next superstar in the NFL.”
KING’S WEEK 13 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Darren Waller, Las Vegas, & Baker Mayfield, Cleveland.
King on Mayfield: “More games like that and the Browns will not only make the playoffs but also be a factor in them.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Kenny Moore II, Indianapolis, Leonard Williams, New York Giants, Kyle Van Noy, Miami, & Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City.
King on Mathieu: “On a day when the Chiefs didn’t get the usual offensive firepower from Patrick Mahomes, Mathieu gave them the big plays they had to have to win.”
Special Teams Players of the Week: Devin McCourty, New England, Gunner Olszewski, New England, & Jason Sanders, Miami.
King on Sanders: “More of a season achievement award for Sanders, who is a league-best 96.6 percent accurate in field goals (28 of 29). He was four of four in the 19-7 win over Cincinnati.”
Coach of the Week: Patrick Graham, New York Giants (defensive coordinator).
King: “What a game plan Graham cooked up against the master Seattle chef, Russell Wilson…Much of that (win) was due to a defense that lines up new players every week and finds a way to suffocate foes.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Football Night in America: Week 13 Recap with Mike Tirico, Rodney Harrison, Chris Simms, Mike Florio and Steve Kornacki.
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Safety Blitz streams on Monday and Chris Simms Unbuttoned stream Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast discuss Week 13 and look ahead to Week 14.
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.