King Says, Benji Says (Week 3)

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The unthinkable has happened: the doofus out-picked me in Week 2. And not only did he out-pick me, he left me choking on his dust, correctly predicting the outcomes of a whopping 12 out of 15 games as opposed to my lowly eight. As a writer for a blog dedicated to outthinking Peter King, you can imagine how devastated I am by this humiliating turn of events. My only option here is to place myself on probation—and in so doing, force myself to acknowledge King’s picking dominance over me every time that I criticize his analysis. Therefore, until the day when I move back ahead of Peter King in the standings, I am no longer allowed to refer to him as a “doofus” or even by his given name—I am only allowed to address him as “The King” or “His Majesty.” Long live The King!?!

Last Week:

Peter King (12-3)
Benji (8-7)
Brian (9-6)

Overall:

Peter King (20-11)
Benji (17-14)
Brian (18-13)

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

The King says:

I’m not sure it’s a mark of Matt Ryan’s greatness that he’ll start his career with a 2-1 record. Nothing against Ryan, but most quarterbacks would like to start their season with the Lions and Chiefs in the first three weeks. On the other side, I said it Monday and I’ll say it again: Tyler Thigpen is not ready for prime time. Kansas City’s 12th straight loss awaits.


Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 20, Kansas City Chiefs 6

Benji says:

His Majesty and I are in wholehearted agreement on this game. I also am not sure what to make of Matt Ryan and the Falcons, but I know that the Chiefs’ passing game is terrible, and that their third starting quarterback in three weeks, Tyler Thigpen, is the worst of the bunch. Next…

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 24, Kansas City Chiefs 9

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)

The King says:

The Bills can afford to overlook no one. Having said that, it must be comforting to know that Team Turmoil is coming to town just as western New York is working into a fever pitch over the 2008 Bills. And I don’t want to get Trent Edwards thinking of Honolulu in February yet, but he’s doing what a good quarterback needs to do. He’s being accurate (71 percent completions), mistake-free (zero picks) and avoiding the rush (three sacks taken).

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 20, Oakland Raiders 13

Benji says:

His Majesty has an infuriating habit of bestowing superfluous praise upon players who have not yet earned it. Yes, Trent Edwards has played very well so far this year—but he’s only played two games!!! The Bills are 2-0 this year, but remember that they have played a team with no effective running backs and an entire receiving corps out with injuries (the Seahawks) and a team without three of its starters on the offensive line (the Jaguars). Will they be 3-0 after playing the Raiders? Almost certainly. But I am not yet convinced that Buffalo is an elite team—its resume is a little lacking at this point. As for the Raiders, they proved last week that they can run the ball but their passing game looked terrible. I cannot envision them putting many points on the board against Buffalo’s defense.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 20, Oakland Raiders 13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Chicago Bears (1-1)

The King says:

When I spoke with Jake Delhomme after the Panthers-Bears game Sunday, he talked about the Chicago defense the way a promising young golfer would talk about Tiger Woods: with awe and just a little fear. Not saying Brian Griese will feel the same way Sunday leaving Soldier Field, but I think the Urlachers will leave a couple of nice welts on their old friend.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12

Benji says:

Keep in mind that Brian Griese, the current starting quarterback for Tampa Bay, was not able to beat out Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, two of the worst quarterbacks in the league, for a job in Chicago. Normally I would take into consideration that, because of his time with the Bears, Griese knows the Chicago defense very well. I honestly do not think that Griese is a good enough player to take advantage of his “insider’s knowledge.” He looked okay against the Falcons last week, but their defense is rather mediocre. My guess is that the Bears will run the ball as much as possible, kick some field goals and rely on the defense and special teams to do the rest. This week, at least, I believe that formula will get them a win.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 17, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9

Houston Texans (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-0)

The King says:

Cris Collinsworth watches as much tape as the Hoge/Jaworksi team at NFL Films, and the other day at NBC, he couldn’t stop talking about how good and stingy and physically dominating the Tennessee defense has looked in the first two weeks, and also how it looked during the preseason. Take a bow, Jim Schwartz. That’s one heck of a unit you’ve designed.


Prediction: Tennessee Titans 20, Houston Texans 15

Benji says:

As The King states, the Titans’ defense has been “physically dominating” over the first two weeks of the season. I cannot dispute that point. I want to pause for a moment, however, to consider the level of opposition that the Titans have faced. The Jaguars, who were already without their starting center, had both of their starting guards knocked out of the game in Week 1, preventing them from running the ball (which their offense is based upon) with any effectiveness whatsoever. The Bengals are just plain terrible. Enter Houston. The Texans have had success against the Titans in the recent past, losing close games 38-36 and 28-20 last season. Texans’ star wide receiver Andre Johnson caught nine balls for 116 yards in the most recent match-up and I expect him to get free from the secondary again in this game. Many people were on the Texans’ bandwagon before the season but jumped off after Week 1; unlike them, I am unwilling to allow the outcome of one game, against a very good Steelers team, affect my assessment of a solid team that certainly has a chance to win this game.

Prediction: Houston Texans 24, Tennessee Titans 21

Carolina Panthers (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

The King says:

Funny the way football works. A 2-0 team getting its best player (Steve Smith) back from a two-game suspension, going to play an 0-2 team with a gigantic hole at the most important position on the field. And the 0-2 team comes out with its pants on fire, playing for its life. I’m not the first person to say this, but in football, I most often give the pre-game edge to the desperate team, especially if it’s playing at home.


Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Carolina Panthers 13

Benji says:

Desperation is a great motivator for a football team, Your Majesty, but as you yourself point out, the Vikings’ biggest weakness is the quarterback position, the single most important position on the field. The switch from Tarvaris Jackson to Gus Frerotte in no way makes Minnesota a better team. Frerotte played nearly half a season’s worth of football last year, and he threw 12 interceptions as opposed to only seven touchdown passes, while completing only 56 percent of his passes. The Vikings should have acquired a quarterback in the off-season, but they did not and now are doomed to have another mediocre season. As for the Panthers, they have willed their way to victory the past two weeks, but their offense will be infinitely better with Steve Smith back in the fold. His ability to get open deep completely alters the way that opposing defenses can play against them. And that Delhomme guy, it turns out he is still pretty good. I bet the Vikings would trade their first round picks for the next three years to land a quarterback like him. Last but not least, the Vikings’ only consistent offensive player, Adrian Peterson, is hampered by a hamstring problem that may keep him out of the game, damaging the Vikings’ chances even further.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 24, Minnesota Vikings 10

Miami Dolphins (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)

The King says:

Who’d have ever thought in Week 3, by the middle of the third quarter, the Pats-Fish would be a Cassel-Henne duel? By the way, do you think it’s possible that, before the game, Bill Belichick sidles up to Matt Cassel and says, “We’re taking the training wheels off today, kid?” Not sure those words will be spoken, but I do think you’ll see three deep throws to Randy Moss this weekend.

Prediction: New England Patriots 33, Miami Dolphins 7

Benji says:

I guess if Belichick is going to “take the training wheels off” for Cassel, a home game against the Dolphins, one of the worst teams in the league, would be the time to do it. The jury’s still out on Cassel, but the Patriots should not have much trouble with Miami.

Prediction: New England Patriots 28, Miami Dolphins 6

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0)

The King says:

All over America come 4 p.m. Sunday, Fantasy Football players with Carson Palmer at quarterback sprint from their NFL Sunday Ticket perches to the internet, scrambling to pick up Gus Frerotte or Jason Campbell … or — gulp — to offer the dimwit in the league Carson Palmer for J.T. O’Sullivan. Straight up.

Prediction: New York Giants 23, Cincinnati Bengals 9

Benji says:

Oh, how I long for the days when Peter King regularly published posts of obvious and slightly inane fantasy football tips. He does have a point here, though. Anyone who drafted Carson Palmer in a fantasy league this season is screwed. They surely wasted a fourth or fifth round draft pick on a guy who has not been the same since his knee surgery and who plays behind an absolutely atrocious offensive line that does not give him time to throw. Oh, you want one of us to actually talk about the real-life game? Fine, the Bengals are awful and the Giants pass rush will eat Palmer alive. I have nothing else to say.

Prediction: New York Giants 28, Cincinnati Bengals 10

Arizona Cardinals (2-0) at Washington Redskins (1-1)

The King says:

Someone explain this to me: How can Kurt Warner be better at 37 than he was at 27, or at 33? You can look it up, by the way. He’s playing better in the last 12 months than at any point in his career except for his three Superman years in St. Louis from 1999 to 2001.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 34, Washington Redskins 24

Benji says:

Your Majesty, while you are correct to point out that Warner has put up very good numbers as of late, you fail to mention that the Cardinals have played two mediocre teams (the 49ers and Dolphins) to open the season. This game will be Arizona’s first real test, and it will be the first time this year that Warner has faced an actual pass rush. Washington’s defense put a lot of pressure on Drew Brees last week and I expect that it will do the same against Warner. I also think that Jason Campell and the Skins’ offense looked much better in Week 2 and that they will find ways both to attack the shaky Arizona secondary and run the ball effectively, keeping the Cardinals’ offense off of the field. While I do think that the Cardinals are the class of the horrible NFC West, I think that the worst team in the NFC East (The Redskins) is equal to or better than them.

Prediction: Washington Redskins 24, Arizona Cardinals 17

New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0)

The King says:

Defensive struggle. Don’t laugh. If this game follows the script of the first two weeks for these two teams, it could be 50-47.


Prediction: Denver Broncos 30, New Orleans Saints 27

Benji says:

The Broncos, as we all know, should be 1-1 right now. I will refrain from harping too much on the man who made the call that changed the outcome of the game—everyone involved in sports media has made enough of his mistake already and I blame the rulebook more than I do the call that was made. What I took away from last week’s game against the Chargers was that the Denver defense is not capable of making a stop. Jay Cutler and co. are exciting to watch, but this team is going to find itself involved in shootouts almost every week. As a general rule, a team that relies this heavily upon its high-powered offense will both be capable of beating good teams but will also inevitably allow lesser teams to remain in the game and even have a chance of winning. As The King states in his analysis, this game very well could be 50-47. Both the Saints and Broncos have great offenses and no defenses to speak of. At any rate, it should be fun to watch. My money is on the Saints pulling this one out, despite my belief that the Broncos are the better team right now with Colston out, because I think that Denver will inevitably have a little bit of a letdown after its big win against San Diego last week. I also do not see Denver’s overmatched linebackers having much of an answer for New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 38, Denver Broncos 35

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

The King says:

My money’s on Jack Del Rio trying to force the run to work better than it has the first two weeks (Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are averaging a somnambulent 47 yards rushing, combined, per game), and my money’s on it working, with Bob Sanders out for a month with the high ankle sprain. By the way, all that’s at stake here is Jacksonville’s season. Nothing else.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Indianapolis Colts 19

Benji says:

You are correct to point out the desperation factor here, Mr. King, but I have some serious reservations about the Jaguars, even when they are at the end of their ropes. Del Rio can force the run all he likes, but their offensive line (missing three starters) is simply not creating openings for Taylor and Jones-Drew. With Bob Sanders out, either running back is capable of breaking off a long touchdown run, but only if they can break through the first line of defense, which has not happened in the first two weeks of the season. But if Jacksonville does not win this game, its chances of making the playoffs will be in serious jeopardy. I’ll go with you on this one, Your Majesty, because I do buy into the desperation theory, as long as competent quarterbacks are involved. The Colts were lucky to win last week and their offensive line has been decimated as well.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Indianapolis Colts 17

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

The King says:

Love this game. How can you not? After watching the Eagles Monday night, you get the impression that Donovan McNabb’s as healthy and energetic and as full of B-12 as he’s ever been, so I don’t worry about a couple of hard hits from LaMarr Woodley. I think McNabb takes a few shots and comes back strong.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 21

Benji says:

I could not agree more, Your Majesty, McNabb looks like he is back and better than ever. I was not as impressed with the Eagles’ revamped defense, however. I believe it will end up being Philadelphia’s downfall, when it’s all said and done. The Eagles can put up points with the best of them, though. Although I like what I have seen out of the Steelers thus far (they hung tough in terrible conditions last Sunday), and I do not think that Roethlisberger’s shoulder hampered his ability to throw last Sunday, I also have yet to see him try to throw a deep ball (the wind took the deep passing game out of play) since the injury to his throwing shoulder occurred. I think that this game could be a wild one, but I favor the Eagles because they are at home and because Roethlisberger’s health is still a question mark.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Detroit Lions (0-2) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

The King says:

Not sure the Mike Martz Bowl will end with J.T. O’Sullivan and Isaac Bruce carrying the San Francisco offensive coordinator — one year removed from the Detroit OC job — off the field on their shoulders post-game, but after watching a good dose of O’Sullivan last week in Seattle, I can tell you he’s ready to win in the NFL, and he has Martz to thank for that.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 23, Detroit Lions 13

Benji says:

While I think that the 49ers are much improved from last year, they are still not that good. Good enough to beat a severely depleted Seahawks team (which I picked them to do), but not good enough for me to write, with any confidence, that they will beat the Detroit Lions at home by a sizeable margin. I learned my lesson about picking the Lions to win on the road against weak opposition in Week 1, though, so I will go with the safe pick. I could see the Lions, and their superior receiving corps, having the edge in a high scoring game but they are just as likely to put up another dud of a performance on the road.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 24, Detroit Lions 21

St. Louis Rams (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

The King says:

Not saying the Seahawks were getting to the bottom of the barrel in their search for wideouts — no team at any position has been beaten up more in the first two weeks than Seattle’s receiver group — but the next two guys scheduled to come in for workouts on Mike Holmgren’s short list were Steve Largent and Brian Blades.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 33, St. Louis Rams 9

Benji says:

Why His Majesty insists on repeatedly pointing out the Seahawks’ biggest problem and subsequently disregarding it is beyond me. Seattle’s offense did manage to will a 100-yard rushing game out of the overrated Julius Jones, but its passing game still looks terrible—because all of its receivers are hurt. I cannot justify picking the Rams to win, because they are on the road, their offensive line is terrible and the Seahawks’ talented linebackers will be able to disrupt Bulger, but do not let The King fool you into thinking that this will be a blowout. The score will be close, because as bad as the Rams are, the Seahawks are not much better.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 20, St. Louis Rams 17

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

The King says:

OK. I am officially the only one in the national media who still has a shred of belief in the Browns. And it’s just a shred. But I can’t believe Braylon Edwards will continue to drop balls like this, and I do believe Shaun Rogers is going to be good fit, and disruptive, as time goes on.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns 23, Baltimore Ravens 16

Benji says:

When I turned on ESPN this morning, there was a poll on the screen, with the question “Which of these surprise 0-2 teams will turn things around?” The Browns were one of the teams listed, which I found somewhat amusing. They played the Cowboys and Steelers to open the season, and people are surprised that they are 0-2? Even if this team is a wildcard contender, an 0-2 record to open the season is not especially surprising, at least in my book. What was surprising to me was how sloppy the passing game has looked. I think that Cleveland will rebound and beat the Ravens, because their offense has to play better than it has the past two weeks. I also do not think that Baltimore is very good. The defense is still solid, but the Ravens’ offense is going to struggle all year to score points.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns 20, Baltimore Ravens 13

Dallas Cowboys (2-0) at Green Bay Packers (2-0)

The King says:

You picked a winner, Dick Ebersol. This will be the best Sunday night game of the year. You know how they say Tony Romo can’t win the big one? (Funny, considering he’s 3-0 at East Rutherford and Philly combined, by an average of 12 points per game) Well, if he opens by winning at Cleveland, at home with Philly and at Green Bay, we experts may have to revise our thinking.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 31, Green Bay Packers 30

Benji says:

After two good games against inferior competition, this is Aaron Rodgers’s coming out party. He played well against the Cowboys last year in relief of Favre, but this will be the first game as a starter in which he will face a worthy opponent. I agree with you, Your Majesty, this certainly will be an exciting game. I must digress for a moment, however, to remind you that the reason people say that Romo cannot win the “big one” has nothing to do with games played in the month of September but everything to do with his inability, as of yet, to win a playoff game. As for this game, I think that Rodgers will have his best performance yet. Romo will put up some points, too, but I like the Packers’ defense much more than the Cowboys’ unit, and I think that the Packers will prevail at home. Your Majesty, why do you continue to disrespect Mr. Rodgers? You did not even mention him once in your analysis for this game.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 31, Dallas Cowboys 24

New York Jets (1-1) at San Diego Chargers (0-2)

The King says:

In the wake of endless Manginius-bashing for running the ball between the tackles three fruitless times inside the Pats’ 3 last week (and I mean endless; if you live in greater New York, you have been inundated with this as much as the Wall Street collapse), I bring those Jets fans wondering why the team traded for Brett Favre this stat: Last season, the Jets had a 44-56 run-pass ratio, meaning they ran the ball on 44 percent of their offensive plays. In the first two weeks of this season, with both games played in glorious weather, the Jets have run it 49.5 percent of the time. So with Favre, they’re 50-50 run-pass, essentially, and with Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens over a full season last year, they were 56-44 pass. Let’s give this some time to shake out, but the early returns are downright weird. And it’s not taking advantage of your best player on offense.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 29, New York Jets 20

Benji says:

Perhaps, Your Majesty, the Jets will start passing the ball more once your man crush, Brett Favre, learns the rest of the playbook. I guarantee that pass/run ratio will change as the season progresses. I do agree with you, though, that Favre should have been given the chance to pass in that goal line situation. Why did the Jets run on third down after failing to get into the end zone on the first two downs? I am more perplexed, however, by your decision to make your longest paragraph of analysis have the least to do with your pick for that game. What about the Chargers? They are desperate, and playing at home, right? I am assuming that is why you picked them. I like the Chargers, too, but I think they will find themselves in another high scoring game here. Their defense, contrary to my original prediction, looks lost without Merriman. Favre will be able to pick it apart at will. As I said, though, the Chargers are desperate. If they lose here, things would look pretty bleak for them.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 31, New York Jets 28

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One Response to “King Says, Benji Says (Week 3)”

  1. Jessie Gurd Says:

    *cries*

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