Harrison skeptical of Patriots sans Brady

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

NBC Sports held a conference call Wednesday to preview the upcoming season of "Sunday Night Football" with color commentator Cris Collinsworth and studio analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison.

Harrison had the most interesting things to say about the AFC East, particularly about his old team.

Harrison on what he expects from the New England Patriots:

"It comes down to No. 12. It comes down to Tom Brady. If you look at what happened last year, Brady goes down and the Patriots are 11-5. They had a pretty good season in terms of everyone else in the league, and they didn't make the playoffs.

"If No. 12 can stay healthy, the offense will put up 27, 28 points a game. The defense will give up 17, 18 points a game, and the Patriots can end up being 12-4, maybe 13-3. If Tom Brady isn't well and he's not playing well coming off this knee injury, then I think the Patriots will struggle."

Harrison on New York Jets coach Rex Ryan's comments about not being intimidated by Bill Belichick or the Patriots:

"When people make comments like that towards individual coaches or players, everyone takes offense. I don't care what anyone says. You keep that quote in your mind, and you put it up on a bulletin board. I don't think that is going to make Belichick even more mad at him or make him hate the Jets more or for them to play harder, but the point of emphasis will be on that.

"He's absolutely right that he shouldn't go in there kissing Bill Belichick's rings or anything like that, but I thought that was understood and really doesn't need to be said out in public. I'm excited about this showdown, but I really don't think they have what it takes to overtake Belichick and the Patriots."