King says, Benji says (Week 1)

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Without further ado, I will square off with our favorite doofus and pick the rest of Week 1’s games:

Detroit Lions (0-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-0)

King says:

I don’t remember a rookie coach, starting a rookie quarterback with a rookie left tackle, faring too well in the opener. Maybe that’s just me.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 20, Atlanta Falcons 6

Benji says:

What an eerie coincidence that King chose the most obvious pick of the 1:00 games as his first Sunday prediction. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and agree with you, Mr. King. The Falcons are probably going to struggle with a rookie coach, a rookie quarterback and a rookie blind side tackle. As much as I loathe the idea of picking the Lions to win on the road, this match-up leaves me with no choice but to do so.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 24, Atlanta Falcons 6

Seattle Seahawks (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0)

King says:

Matt Hasselbeck could well be without three of his top four receivers — Deion Branch and Bobby Engram are doubtful, and Ben Obamanu out for the year — with only Nate Burleson among his stalwarts left. In Orchard Park, in the first game of the year, with a crazy crowd on hand, this is going to be a very tough game to win. In Hasselbeck I trust.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 23, Buffalo Bills 21

Benji says:

We are in complete agreement, King, until your last sentence. Why would you spend an entire, very convincing paragraph outlining why the Seahawks will struggle only to pick them to win the game? Hasselbeck’s a good quarterback, but he’s no Tom Brady. His top two receivers from last year are listed as doubtful and behind them there is no one else that belongs on an active NFL roster. You neglected to mention Seattle’s very questionable running game. You also neglected to mention that the Bills were a pretty solid team last year, especially at home. I cannot think of a single reason why I would pick a depleted (and average even when healthy) Seahawks team to win in Buffalo.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 24, Seattle Seahawks 13

Dallas Cowboys (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0)

King says:

Ever hear of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald? You will have Sunday night. They will either be the giant-killer Cleveland corners who shut down Tony Romo. Or, very more likely, they’ll be the guys who got strafed for 378 yards and bear the burden of the Browns’ first loss of the year.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 37, Cleveland Browns 31

Benji says:

I agree completely with King’s pick here—I take issue, however, with the disjunction between his season prediction description of Dallas and his expectation for the Cowboys’ defense in this game. He expects that the Cowboys will make it all the way to the Super Bowl this year, but yet fully expects their defense to allow 31 points to a fringe playoff team? I’m selling the original King but I’ll buy a share of King 2.0. The Browns’ offense is solid but their defense leaves just about everything to be desired, and they will lose on the road here—just not without making the Cowboys defense also look silly in the process.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 37, Cleveland Browns 31

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)

King says:

This’ll be the classic Jags-Titans slobberknocker. And though Chris Johnson, the precocious rookie Tennessee runner, will do enough to get a couple of highlights on “Football Night in America” Sunday night, the bottom line in this game is I trust David Garrard more than Vince Young.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Tennessee Titans 17

Benji says:

I’m pretty sure that “slobberknocker” isn’t a word, but I’ll let it slide just this once—if only because King manages to drop a great vocabulary word like “precocious” in the next sentence. Seriously, though, I do not know what to make of this match-up based on last year’s meetings (the Titans won big on the road when Garrard was playing and lost big at home when he was out) and while I expect the Jaguars to win, I wouldn’t label Garrard as the deity that King seems to think that he is quite yet. The Titans have a solid defense and a good running game, and if Vince Young has an average season, this team will certainly be a playoff contender.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Tennessee Titans 17

Chicago Bears (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)

King says:

Dick Ebersol exhales. It’s not Sorgi-Orton.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 27, Chicago Bears 16

Benji says:

Very concise, Mr. King. Although, I still think that the Colts would have had a good chance of winning this game even with Sorgi at the helm. The Bears’ offense is that bad. And their defense last year was actually pretty mediocre too…Did I mention that the Colts are my pick to make the Super Bowl from the AFC?

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 28, Chicago Bears 6

New York Jets (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0)

King says:

No team plays a bigger game in week one than the Jets. No team. Because the Jets have playoff hopes, and they have New England (home) and San Diego (road) in weeks two and three. The road is not exactly littered with 0-3 teams rebounding to make the playoffs. Oh, it’s the first game in 17 years that Brett Favre’s worn another uniform. And it’s Chad Pennington’s chance at redemption. Easily, this is the most compelling game of week one.

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Miami Dolphins 10

Benji says:

Hmm. King makes a convincing argument for why this will be a compelling game, but I think that it will be over by halftime. The Dolphins’ roster looks terrible. It will be a year or two before Miami starts seriously competing again. The weak-armed Chad Pennington finds a home on a team with only one good offensive player, who is a deep threat (Ted Ginn Jr.), and I’m supposed to believe that he’s going to resuscitate his career? Not so much. That Favre guy will probably throw a few touchdown passes for his new team, though, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Prediction: New York Jets 28, Miami Dolphins 10

Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)

Tom Brady will wake up on gameday, phone good buddy Peyton Manning, and say: “I bet I’m a lot happier to be playing the Chiefs than you are to be playing the Bears today.” Not really. But he’ll be thinking it.

Prediction: New England Patriots 33, Kansas City Chiefs 13

Benji says:

First of all, I’m pretty sure that “gameday” is not one word. Second of all, I was not under the impression that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were particularly good friends, but, rather, rivals respectful of each other’s accomplishments. Thirdly, why would Brady call Manning to brag about playing one mediocre team over another equally mediocre team from the other conference? I am baffled by your logic, but yet, we came up with similar predictions, King.

Prediction: New England Patriots 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0)

King says:

Not sure how much emotion there will be in the ‘Dome because of the Gustav aftermath. But I do know this: The Buc secondary is going to torment Drew Brees. By Sunday night, he’ll know Aquib Talib and Tanard Jackson — more than he’d like to. I think Brees wills a win.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

Benji says:

Once again, King, you spend a paragraph essentially building an argument for a team to lose only to predict a win based on the quarterback’s performance in the last sentence. Under center, you trust. I, too, predict that the Saints will win, but my prediction is based upon the health of their potentially explosive offense, the fact that they are playing at home, and the disturbing age of the players on both offense and defense for the visiting Buccaneers—not because I think that Brees is a Hemingway-esque hero.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

St. Louis Rams (0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)

King says:

Hurry up and grow up, Chris Long; Leonard Little needs a legit bookend rusher.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 37, St. Louis Rams 10

Benji says:

Leonard Little should also start asking for Senior discounts when he goes out to eat at Wendy’s. This is 2008. Okay, so he’s only 33, but for the past few years he’s looked like he was 65. He has not been a game-changing player since 2003, but apparently King did not get the memo. The Rams’ defense is likely to struggle and their offensive line is certainly questionable. I’m not so sure, though, that the Eagles have the personnel to run away with this game without the services of their top two receivers. Expect it to be close. In Westbrook “I trust?”

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 19, St. Louis Rams 15

Houston Texans (0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0)

King says:

Here’s a weird note for you: Going by 2007 record, this is the easiest non-divisoon game the Steelers will play, out of their 10 games outside the AFC North. And it won’t be easy. I’ll be interested to see the kind of game Kyle Shanahan calls, in his first NFL game. An NFL play-caller, at 28. Shanahan’s the Theo Epstein of NFL coordinators.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Houston Texans 20

Benji says:

I don’t know exactly what a “non-divisoon game” is, but it sounds unpleasant. I’m also confused as to why King bestows the “Epstein” label upon Kyle Shanahan before Shanahan even coaches in a game. Especially when he is so sure that the game will be close but completely unsure of what type of game Shanahan will call against the Steelers in order to make the game competitive. It sounds like a stretch to me. I like the Steelers’ defense, especially at home, and I think that their offense has quietly become very good over the past year or so.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Houston Texans 10

Carolina Panthers (0-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-0)

King says:

Marcus McNeill’s got a bad back. Shawne Merriman’s got the most famous bad knee in the NFL. Lucky for the Chargers they’ve got the Steve Smith-less Panthers, or this result might be very much different.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 22, Carolina Panthers 20

Benji says:

Even if McNeill and Merriman were not playing, I would still pick the Chargers. King seems to have forgotten that the Chargers have an explosive offense, led by the best running back in the AFC, LaDanian Tomlinson. His assertion that the result would be different if Steve Smith were playing seems silly, given that Delhomme has not played a regular season game in almost a year and is sure to be a little rusty out of the gate, and that the Chargers have one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 35, Carolina Panthers 16

Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-0)

King says:

The best game of the weekend. The most fun and highlight-filled game of the weekend, with 82 passes by Kurt Warner and Mike Martz’s latest version of Warner, J.T. O’Sullivan. TiVo this game on “Sunday Ticket,” and I guarantee you’ll be watching it sometime Monday or Tuesday. It’ll be electric.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 33, Arizona Cardinals 30

Benji says:

I don’t know if “electric” is quite the right word. I would use two words to describe this game: no defense. The Cardinals are probably the better team, but not by much. If last year is any indication (the 49ers beat the Cardinals twice in close games), the football gods are not about to allow a mediocre team to make the playoffs without a fight, no matter how favorable its schedule looks. On an unrelated note, are you as excited for the Isaac Bruce/Mike Martz reunion as I am? If only the 49ers had held onto Darrell Jackson (whom they acquired last season and subsequently released), they would have a pretty exciting receiving corps and a coach who can utilize them…if it were five years ago.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 31, Arizona Cardinals 28

Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-0)

King says:

Joe Flacco scares me. Not long-term, but in the first game, especially with Willis McGahee and Ray Rice coming off ouchy preseasons. I don’t like picking a road team in the Ravens’ home opener, but I worry about the Ravens having to win a game with defense and special teams.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 24, Baltimore Ravens 13

Benji says:

What a difference a couple of years can make. The Ravens used to be able to win games with defense and special teams on a regular basis, but that is no longer the case. Their defense, full of aging players, is probably still better than most, but not dominant enough to make up for an offense devoid of playmakers and led by a rookie quarterback. I hate to pick the Bengals to win on the road. I think that their defense is going to be atrocious again this year, and I expect that they will have to outscore teams to win. I’m not saying that they don’t have the personnel to put points on the board, but their offensive line was a huge disappointment last year and rarely gave Palmer enough time to throw. The jury’s still out on Cincinnati, but I have no choice but to predict a win for it here.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 28, Baltimore Ravens 17

Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0)

King says:

Jared Allen pays dividends right away, tormenting Aaron Rodgers all night long. Allen’s going to be such a force this year, playing alongside Kevin and Pat Williams. I think Rodgers will be very good this year, but not on this night. Too much pressure.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 27, Green Bay Packers 20

Benji says:

My Peter King = Doofus colleague Brian has already outlined the most glaring problem with this particular prediction, but let me restate it—after revealing in a recent column that Artis Hicks (the fill-in left tackle for the Vikings) was under the “most pressure” of any player in the NFL, he neglects to even mention him in his analysis of the Vikings’ opening week game, on the road, against the best team in the division. If you’ve been reading our season predictions, you already know how I feel about the Packers. If Rodgers steps up (and I believe he will), the Packers are going to have a big year. All of the other pieces are already in place. The Vikings have too many questions for my liking; Questions (such as an inconsistent quarterback, unproven receivers after Berrian, and sometimes unreliable play from the secondary) that King should at least make an attempt to answer if he’s going to pick them to win.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 28, Minnesota Vikings 17

Denver Broncos (0-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-0)

King says:

In the Greenberg-Golic Bowl, the Raiders actually show up. Javon Walker actually catches a touchdown pass. But the story of this game is Jay Cutler beginnning to take his place among the NFL elite quarterbacks with a three-touchdown pass opener.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 24, Oakland Raiders 17

Benji says:

I think that Peter King just tried to make a funny. He should have just stuck with the obscure ESPN references, because then he tries to create a story without any secondary characters. Cutler is going to throw three touchdown passes you say? I challenge you, Mr. King, to name one of the starting receivers for the Broncos (hint: Brandon Marshall will not be playing). The walking corpse that is Darrell Jackson does not count. You should also take some time to reflect upon the Broncos’ issues with run-blocking, the unproven running backs on their roster (without a dominant blocking scheme this will finally become a problem for them) and their porous pass defense. The Raiders have issues of their own, but should have a superior running game and pass defense, if nothing else. And who knows, if a receiver emerges, maybe JaMarcus Russell can finally use that “cannon” of his to throw some deep passes.

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 24, Denver Broncos 17

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One Response to “King says, Benji says (Week 1)”

  1. King Says, Benji Says (Week 1) « Peter King = Doofus Says:

    […] before Thursday’s game might suggest, I need to proceed cautiously. Remember, after all, what His Majesty and I had to say about the Falcons (who finished the season at 11-5) before they played the Lions (who […]

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