King Says, Benji Says (Week 11)

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So far, I have not offered my voters change that they can believe in, but the NFL season is still young. With nearly half of the regular season remaining, I have plenty of time to make up ground on His Majesty. So what if I cannot win consistently at home…I’m ready to pull a page out of the New York Giants’ playbook and pick up a win on the road during my trip to Virginia.

Last Week:

Peter King (10-4)
Benji (9-5)
Brian (11-3)

Overall (not including the Thursday game):

Peter King (95-49)
Benji (84-60)
Brian (92-52)

Denver Broncos (5-4) at Atlanta Falcons (6-3)

The King says:

I know, I know. The Falcons are hotter than hot, and Denver can’t play defense. I just have a feeling about this one. Jay Cutler just threw for more yards in a game than John Elway ever did. Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall on turf — heck, even Tatum Bell on turf — will present the Falcons more problems that they can solve. I’d be pretty boring if I picked the chalk every week.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 33, Atlanta Falcons 28

Benji says:

While Cutler did throw for more yards than Elway ever did last week, his defense is allowing more points and yards than any Denver defensive unit during the Elway era. The Broncos are especially susceptible to the run (allowing 5.1 yards per rushing attempt) and consequently the play action pass, which is exactly what the Atlanta offense excels at. Once you factor in that the Falcons are the home team, this match-up seems to heavily favor Atlanta.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 30, Denver Broncos 20

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-8)

The King says:

Sure, let’s fire Andy Reid. That’s a smart idea. Let’s dump a coach averaging 10.5 wins a year, who has piloted the Eagles to more wins than any other NFC team in the past 10 years, because he’s made the playoffs six times in nine previous years but hasn’t won a Super Bowl, and because he lost to the best team in football by five at home. That’s the ticket. That’s what you want to do with your franchise. Let’s let WIP run the team and pick the next coach.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27, Cincinnati Bengals 17

Benji says:

Who said anything about Andy Reid’s job security? I want to know why you picked the Eagles to win this game, Your Majesty. I am picking them because the Bengals are a weak team and Philadelphia thrives against weak teams. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 34, Cincinnati Bengals 13

Chicago Bears (5-4) at Green Bay Packers (4-5)

The King says:

The Bears need Kyle Orton to return, and he’ll try. Regardless, this is Matt Forte’s game. Green Bay’s playing the run like Peter King and Dr. Z are the starting defensive tackles.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 23, Green Bay Packers 17

Benji says:

I’m throwing all statistical match-ups out the window and going to the desperation formula here: The Packers are a talented team, playing at home, in a must-win situation.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 27, Chicago Bears 17

Houston Texans (3-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-4)

The King says:

Don’t fire Gary Kubiak. He deserves one more year. Maybe he needs to tweak his staff a bit, but you can’t give a good man with burgeoning talent two and a half years and decide he’s not the man for the job — unless there’s something lacking in his approach or his skill-set as a coach. Plus he hasn’t lost the team.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 25, Houston Texans 20

Benji says:

In Sage we no longer trust–I’ve officially given up on the turnover-prone Rosenfels. Quarterback play, whether it be Schaub’s inability to make good reads against pressure defenses or Rosenfel’s recent interception streak, is holding the Texans back from being a winning team. The Colts have healed up and are beginning to click just in time to make a run at a wildcard spot.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 27, Houston Texans 20

New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)

The King says:

Unlike the Bucs — who had no respect for the Chiefs — the Saints will enter Arrowhead Stadium with a fear of losing and falling out of what limited playoff contention they’re in. And shazam! Jeremy Shockey will score a touchdown! And Drew Brees will shake his hand! Peace and harmony on the Bayou for a few minutes!

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 30, Kansas City Chiefs 13

Benji says:

The Saints need to win this game, but they better be on their toes. The Chiefs have looked pretty good the last few weeks and quarterback Tyler Thigpen is looking more and more like a viable NFL starter. The New Orleans offense needs to show some more week-to-week consistency if the team has any shot at making the playoffs…

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 30, Kansas City Chiefs 27

Oakland Raiders (2-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-4)

The King says:

Repeat after me: On Sunday night, the Miami Dolphins will be 6-4, tied for an AFC Wild Card spot. On the other side, I don’t care if Lane Kiffin, Greg Knapp, Tom Cable, Larry the Cable Guy or Tom Flores calls the plays for the lowest-scoring team in football. It won’t help.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 37, Oakland Raiders 10

Benji says:

Jake Delhomme had quite possibly the worst performance by a starting quarterback this season (7 of 27 for 72 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions) in last week’s game against the Raiders, and Oakland had absolutely no chance of winning the game. That’s all you need to know about the state of the Raiders’ offense at the moment…

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 9

Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at New York Giants (8-1)

The King says:

How do you not love Joe Flacco nine games into his career? He’s on a mistake-free, four-game winning streak (six touchdowns, no interceptions, 107.5 rating in the past month). This is the game, 68 miles north of his Jersey hometown, that humbles him. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo sends the kitchen sink at Flacco — plus quite a few utensils, plates, pots and pans — and pressures him into two turnovers. The Giants will need those to beat this defense.

Prediction: New York Giants 19, Baltimore Ravens 16

Benji says:

Both defenses are really good (Baltimore has allowed the second fewest yards in the league while the Giants rank third in that category) and both offenses have played very well over the past month. Unlike His Majesty, however, I am still not completely sold on Joe Flacco. He has five touchdowns and zero turnovers over the past three weeks, but his success over that time has come against three weak defenses (Oakland, Cleveland and Houston). I will have to see him succeed against an elite defense before I start taking him seriously.

Prediction: New York Giants 23, Baltimore Ravens 13

Minnesota Vikings (5-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

The King says:

Very underrated fun game of the weekend. Adrian Peterson gets to run against the Bucs’ speed defense for the first time in his life, but the game will be won, I believe, by the Tampa pass-rush tormenting a slow-on-the-draw Gus Frerotte.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, Minnesota Vikings 23

Benji says:

Minnesota quarterback Gus Frerotte has thrown eight interceptions in the last three games. The Vikings cannot continue to win with “Gunslinger Gus” throwing the ball up for grabs on nearly every drive. I do not like their chances on the road against a good Tampa defense (which has forced 12 interceptions already this season) that will almost certainly take advantage of every Frerotte miscue.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Minnesota Vikings 10

Detroit Lions (0-9) at Carolina Panthers (7-2)

The King says:

Jake Delhomme is so embarrassed by the worst game of his career (7-for-27 at Oakland, with four interceptions) that he hits Steve Smith on a 78-yard go-route on the first play from scrimmage. Detroit is left to ponder who it might beat in the final six weeks. Current record of final six Lions foes: 32-22 — and none is worse than a game under .500.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 23, Detroit Lions 9

Benji says:

Delhomme better play better in this game than he did last time out. A team like the Lions that is hungry for a victory will not lie down like the Raiders did last week. If the Panthers can take care of the ball, however, their defense should be able to hold down the Detroit offense.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 20, Detroit Lions 17

Tennessee Titans (9-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)

The King says:

Week 11, 2003: Chiefs, 9-0, fresh off the SI cover, travel to up-and-down Cincinnati. The Bengals, destined for an 8-8 finish, stun Chiefs 24-19. Week 11, 2008: Titans, 9-0, a week removed from SI cover, travel to up-and-down Jacksonville. The Jags, destined for an 8-8 finish, stun Titans 24-19.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Tennessee Titans 19

Benji says:

I agree with your pick, Your Majesty, if not your reasoning. Let’s give that desperation formula one more spin, shall we? The Jaguars are a talented team (I picked them to make it to the AFC Championship Game) playing at home in a game that they desperately need to win.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Tennessee Titans 19

San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)

The King says:

They don’t come much more must-winnish in Week 11 than this one for Pittsburgh, which must stop the bleeding and restore a little bit of Ben Roethlisberger’s confidence after a horrific game against Indy. On the flip side, I predict there will be steam coming out of Charger GM A.J. Smith’s ears after the game — and that does not bode well for the January job prospects of one Norval Turner.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 31, San Diego Chargers 16

Benji says:

Your Majesty, do you truly believe that the Steelers are in a more desperate situation than the Chargers are right now? If Pittsburgh loses, at 6-4 it is still in good shape to grab a wildcard berth and/or compete for the division title with Baltimore; if the Chargers lose, then their season is pretty much over. Ben Roethlisberger needs to take better care of the ball than he has over the last few weeks because the Chargers, if nothing else, can score some points through the air if given the opportunity. It should be a close game, but I think that San Diego’s playoff chances survive to see another week…

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

St. Louis Rams (2-7) at San Francisco 49ers (2-7)

The King says:

I’m reminded of a “Chicago” song of my youth: Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 23, St. Louis Rams 10

Benji says:

In a battle of the NFC West bottom feeders, I will take the ‘9ers because they showed a tremendous amount of effort and resilience in their Monday Night game with the Cardinals and came up one yard short of a victory, while the Rams were shellacked by the Jets.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 27, St. Louis Rams 20

Arizona Cardinals (6-3) at Seattle Seahawks (2-7)

The King says:

The cavalry rides in for Seattle. The cavalry is bald. See if you can figure that one out.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 22, Arizona Cardinals 20

Benji says:

Matt Hasselbeck’s return to the Seahawks will not be enough to lead them to a win over the division leading Cardinals and quarterback Kurt Warner. Seattle’s defensive backs are no match for Arizona’s talented receivers, and its front seven has struggled to pressure the passer this season. Even if Arizona plays an average game, Seattle’s defense will be unable to stop it from scoring.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 30, Seattle Seahawks 20

Dallas Cowboys (5-4) at Washington Redskins (6-3)

The King says:

King drinks Tony Romo Kool Aid. Totally buys into Cowboys getting fixed by return of fearless leader. Ignores one of leakiest offensive lines in football. Will get comeuppance Sunday at midnight.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30, Washington Redskins 23

Benji says:

Benji also drinks Tony Romo Kool Aid…partly because Benji does not drink the Washington Redskins Kool Aid. Washington is a weak 6-3, only scoring 0.3 points more than it has allowed (19 to 18.7). With Romo back in the fold, the Cowboys’ offense should start scoring points again like it has for the past couple seasons. I doubt that the Redskins’ offense, which, again, is averaging fewer than 20 points a game, will be able to keep up.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30, Washington Redskins 19

Cleveland Browns (3-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-4)

The King says:

First game in NFL history played with protective netting around both quarterbacks. You know why? Because the offensive coordinators in this game, Rob Chudzinski and Turk Schonert, are smarter than we are.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 20, Cleveland Browns 18

Benji says:

While I have not been overly impressed with Trent Edwards the past few weeks (his lack of pocket mobility and unwillingness to take a hit while delivering the ball were very troubling in last week’s game against Denver), I suppose that with Buffalo at 5-4, this game qualifies for my desperation factor formula as well. Buffalo is a talented team, playing at home in a game that it needs to win if it wants to have any shot at winning the division or earning a wild card berth.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 23, Cleveland Browns 20

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