SIMON: Much of the USA is huddled inner against the cold, but the NFL playoffs are just heating up. Howard Bryant of ESPN joins us. Howard, thanks a lot for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you doing?

SIMON: I’m nice. Thank you, my friend. Most of the NFL speak we’ve not had this year has been approximately demonstrations of moral sense on the sphere, being approximately the dropping scores of the video games. There are 4 large video games this weekend. You’ve got the Tennessee Titans playing the Kansas City Chiefs and the Panthers towards the New Orleans Saints. Where’d you want to start?

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BRYANT: Well, clearly, I’d like Buffalo – and Buffalo and Jacksonville initially. You’ve were given two groups that have not made the playoffs all the time. Jacksonville hadn’t made the playoffs considering that 2007. And they had been a laughingstock for years. And the Buffalo Bills, the once-proud Buffalo Bills, hadn’t made the playoffs given that 1999. They play with each other this weekend. And you’re right, Scott. This has been a tough yr, whether you are speaking about CTE and concussions. We’re talking about the scores and protests for and towards Colin Kaepernick and police brutality. And so that is the duration now in which the league desires this, where I assume soccer fans are going to try to settle in and salvage this season. It’s going time for the gamers in phrases of looking to win a championship.

And then, additionally, of direction, you are looking on the Atlanta Falcons. You’ve were given a team there that had a 28-3 lead inside the Super Bowl towards the Patriots a year in the past. And now they are inside the playoffs once more, one more time. And a group that misplaced the Super Bowl hasn’t gone again to the Super Bowl considering that 1993, while Buffalo did it. So perhaps… SIMON: And this changed into a group that was two mins away from – or four minutes far from winning the Super Bowl.

BRYANT: From prevailing the Super Bowl. It is going back to what John Madden usually said – I love that – that the finest hole in sports activities is between the winner and loser of the Super Bowl. And it virtually is proper. SIMON: Yeah. Teams that had a hard regular season – can they placed that everyone at the back of them whilst it receives to the playoffs? Do you wipe the slate smoothly?

BRYANT: Well, I assume you need to. And I think that one of the teams you’re virtually involved in that regard is the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s a group that went out on the beginning day, and they demolished the defending champion Patriots in Foxborough. You looked at them, and also you started; here is a team; it’s certainly going to position it collectively.

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And they’ve got Andy Reid lower back there, who’d been to the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles. And then, of course, that they had their troubles throughout the season. And then they grew to become it around, and so now they’re inside the playoffs. And so, this is one of the – they’re going to be one of those teams that is absolutely saying, appearance. We’re inside the match now, so the whole lot that befell inside the beyond isn’t always going to rely upon. Let’s see if we will turn this around.

And, of course, the team that everyone’s looking out – there are teams that everybody’s searching out for. One in the NFC is the Philadelphia Eagles – notable crew, thirteen win crew. But they lost their quarterback, Carson Wentz. So now you are looking for the Eagles to look at. Can they win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles, with a backup? And then, of course, the defending champion Patriots, who are usually there. And can 40-12 months-old Tom Brady do what nobody’s ever accomplished before, that’s to win the Super Bowl at that age? SIMON: Yeah. You didn’t ask. But I’ll say, yeah. I assume he can.

BRYANT: (Laughter) I assume he can too.

SIMON: And permit me to ask about the Australian Open because it’s miles this type of testimony to the eminence of Serena Williams that she will be able to dominate an information cycle about the Australian Open by making a non-public choice – let me positioned it that manner.

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No query. Serena Williams hasn’t performed an expert healthy because she beat her sister in the Australian Open last year. She was eight weeks pregnant at the time and then introduced that she changed into pregnant. And then she had her child. And yet, for a good deal of that time, she had advised people that she would return and make the Open, announced that she failed to attain her aim and that she’s not going to play within the Open.

Serena Williams is the finest athlete we’ve got were given going to us of a proper now. She does no longer but have an S on her chest. It turned into an excellent ask. But because it becomes Serena, anybody assumed that what’s up, you’re now not going to bet towards her. But she stated she’s now not quite there yet. Kind of a shame, however, not truly a wonder. You’re asking lots even of the superb Serena Williams to no longer play a suit in 12 months, after which come lower back and compete for a championship.