King Says, Benji Says (Week 12)



There’s no tying in football…oh, wait, yes there is! My picking match-up with His Majesty went the distance last week (a full 16 games!) but neither of us came away with anything to show for it. There’s still time left in the season for me to catch The King, but the weeks are starting to pile up. It’s time for me to make a move before it’s too late…

Last Week:

Peter King (10-5-1)
Benji (10-5-1)
Brian (10-5-1)

Overall (not including the Thursday game):

Peter King (105-54-1)
Benji (94-65-1)
Brian (102-57-1)

Carolina Panthers (8-2) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

The King says:

I’m not saying the Atlanta corners are Champ Bailey and Deion Sanders, but apparently these days against Jake Delhomme, they don’t have to be. No player needs a get-well game more than Delhomme.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 24, Carolina Panthers 13

Benji says:

Last week I tried to buck the trend of the home team winning in NFC South divisional games and I came away empty. I will not make that mistake again this week. His Majesty is also correct to point out the recent struggles of Jake Delhomme. The Panthers’ defense is solid (ranked fifth in the league in both passing yards and total yards allowed) but it is not good enough to win games without some sort of support from the passing game. They cannot expect to have two 100-yard rushers every week. The Falcons were a dropped touchdown by Roddy White away from beating the Broncos last week and I expect them to bounce back on Sunday in a game they need to win much more than their opponent does.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 27, Carolina Panthers 17

Houston Texans (3-7) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)

The King says:

Brady Quinn will play with a break at the tip of his index finger; Tony Romo couldn’t play with a break at the tip of his pinkie finger. Come to think of it, maybe Romo was the smart one here.

Prediction: Houston Texans 23, Cleveland Browns 21

Benji says:

Cleveland received a gift-wrapped win from the freefalling Bills on Monday night, but this match-up promises to be much tougher. Brady Quinn is sure to struggle throwing the ball with his injured finger (he became less accurate as the game went on against Buffalo) and it’s hard to imagine the Browns’ porous run defense (ranked 26th in the league in yards per carry) having an answer for Houston running back Steve Slaton, who rushed for 156 yards on 14 carries against the Colts last week.

Prediction: Houston Texans 27, Cleveland Browns 16

San Francisco 49ers (3-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-4)

The King says:

I see where Shaun Hill was awarded the NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award for his role in the 49ers’ victory over the St. Louis JV team. Who voted? Hill’s aunt and uncle?

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 27, San Francisco 49ers 9

Benji says:

The Cowboys look to be back on track now that Tony Romo is back. They will not take the 49ers lightly (they cannot afford to at 6-4) but they should win pretty easily. Dallas just has too many offensive weapons for San Francisco to contain.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30, San Francisco 49ers 17

Oakland Raiders (2-8) at Denver Broncos (6-4)

The King says:

I’ve had this Jay Cutler feature story for SI sitting in my computer so long that when I first did it I went to see a Rockies game while in Denver. With games like this one, I’m hoping Cutler helps me resuscitate my story.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 37, Oakland Raiders 15

Benji says:

Pardon me, Your Majesty, I was unaware that beating up on the hapless Raiders makes a player worthy of a feature story. You must really be struggling for material…

Prediction: Denver Broncos 37, Oakland Raiders 15

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) at Detroit Lions (0-10)

The King says:

I hear all the nice, respectful words the Bucs are saying about the toothless Leos. But this is a horrendous matchup for a plodding Detroit offense led by plumpish Daunte Culpepper. The running back, Kevin Smith, isn’t fast either. Tampa’s defense quasi-smothered Adrian Peterson last week and it will be uglier for the Lions.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Detroit Lions 10

Benji says:

Tampa Bay certainly has a team that is far superior to Detroit’s, but the “toothless Leos” are not going to coast their way to a winless season. Professional football players have more pride than that. The Buccaneers are right not to take them lightly…

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Detroit Lions 16

New York Jets (7-3) at Tennessee Titans (10-0)

The King says:

My daughter Mary Beth has caught me in the Peter King Challenge, and she picks teams based on uniform color. So now I’ve got to stop fooling around. I’m not picking against Jeff Fisher until at least 2014.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 31, New York Jets 20

Benji says:

The Titans are due to lose a game, but it’s not going to happen this week. The Jets will likely suffer a bit of a letdown after their big overtime win in New England last Thursday, and nothing short of a team’s best offensive effort will be enough to beat Tennessee, which is allowing the fewest points in the league (13.1) and has forced the second highest number of interceptions (15).

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 20, New York Jets 10

Buffalo Bills (5-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)

The King says:

I really feel for Trent Edwards. He’s going to be a good player and he’s just at the nadir of his confidence and accuracy right now. Playing in a place where you can’t hear a darn thing won’t help.

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 20, Buffalo Bills 13

Benji says:

Trent Edwards is a mess right now—his pocket presence is terrible, he shies away from taking hits and short-arms throws, has struggled to throw accurately when he gets good protection and is making horrible decisions. The young quarterback for the Chiefs, Tyler Thigpen, on the other hand, has improved considerably over the course of the season and looks like a viable NFL starter.

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 27, Buffalo Bills 17

Chicago Bears (5-5) at St. Louis Rams (2-8)

The King says:

I had a defensive assistant tell me the other day that his team put on video of the Rams’ first defensive series against the Jets to show their players how not to hustle and swarm to the ball. The level of effort, this coach told me, was terrible.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 33, St. Louis Rams 10

Benji says:

No fair, Your Majesty, you received inside information! I was going to pick the Rams this week until you…just kidding, I don’t need an unnamed source to help me figure out that the St. Louis defense is terrible. I have two eyes and a brain.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 27, St. Louis Rams 17

New England Patriots (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (6-4)

The King says:

It’s not nice to embarrass Bill Belichick. He plays a team Sunday that rubbed his nose in the dirt at home with trick plays he should have been able to handle at Wesleyan, and he walks into a place with one of his football godfathers, Bill Parcells, watching down on him from a suite. You don’t often see Belichick under pressure, embarrassed.

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Miami Dolphins 23

Benji says:

The Patriots are a very resilient bunch. They are 3-0 after losses this season, with each victory coming by a margin of nine points or more. They also are looking for revenge after the Dolphins embarrassed them in the two teams’ last meeting. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have barely escaped with wins against mediocre teams (Seattle and Oakland) the past two weeks.

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Miami Dolphins 17

Minnesota Vikings (5-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6)

The King says:

Assuming the Vikings will lose the best defensive tackle tandem in football — Kevin and Pat Williams — for a month after this game, you would think that since they’re playing for their very playoff existence, they would show up and play better in this game. I just don’t think they are good enough to do that.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 17, Minnesota Vikings 10

Benji says:

The Vikings might not be good enough to beat a team with a good passing game on the road, but this is the Jacksonville Jaguars we are talking about here. Jacksonville can only win if it controls the ball in the running game and Minnesota’s run defense is ranked second in the league in yards per carry (3.1). It’s just a terrible match-up for Jacksonville and one it cannot win unless Minnesota quarterback Gus Frerotte implodes and Maurice Jones-Drew returns a kick for a touchdown.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-4)

The King says:

Andy Reid calls over Donovan McNabb just before kickoff and says, “Just wanted to alert you – we’re playing four quarters today. Sixty minutes. I’m going to do everything in my power to not get us into overtime because I don’t want you to be mentally taxed with such a difficult concept.”

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 22, Philadelphia Eagles 20

Benji says:

Here we go, I was wondering how long it would take for His Majesty to make a joke about Donovan McNabb’s intelligence in the aftermath of the Eagles’ tie last week with the Bengals. I am not ready to give up on the Eagles yet. Every quarterback goes through bad stretches and McNabb is a much better player than he was last Sunday. I have much more confidence in him rebounding with a good game against the Ravens than I do in Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco coming through against the Eagles’ defense, which is sure to be blitz-heavy after his struggles against the Giants’ pressure-based defense last week.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27, Baltimore Ravens 16

New York Giants (9-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-3)

The King says:

If I thought Kurt Warner could be the Kurt Warner of the last months in this one, I’d certainly pick the Cards. But this is not Seattle’s pass rush. It is not San Francisco’s. It’s not St. Louis’. The Giants front seven is going to pressure Warner into making 2-3 throws he wishes he hadn’t and that will be the difference.

Prediction: New York Giants 29, Arizona Cardinals 26

Benji says:

Maybe Kurt Warner and the Cardinals are headed for a fall but I just do not see it. A team with that many skilled receivers and a talented quarterback with a quick release that can get them the ball cannot be stifled by pressure alone. The Giants’ offense will have to score a lot of points to keep up. New York is certainly capable of doing so, and this should be a fun game to watch…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 30, New York Giants 27

Washington Redskins (6-4) at Seattle Seahawks (2-8)

The King says:

Is it my imagination, or do the Redskins play in Seattle every three or four weeks?

Prediction: Washington Redskins 23, Seattle Seahawks 18

Benji says:

Matt Hasselbeck looked really rusty against the Cardinals last week. Maybe after a game under his belt, he will be more effective this week? I wouldn’t count on it, because Washington’s defense is better than Arizona’s.

Prediction: Washington Redskins 20, Seattle Seahawks 13

Indianapolis Colts (6-4) at San Diego Chargers (4-6)

The King says:

There must be something about the airport in San Diego. Or the air. Since Week 2, San Diego is 0-5 on the road and 4-0 at home. In Week 3 in San Diego, Brett Favre played like he acted in “There’s Something About Mary” which was really not at an Oscar level. Ditto Matt Cassel in Week 6. I don’t know, maybe Peyton Manning will play great out there but home has been a pretty sweet home for the Chargers in the past couple months.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 31, Indianapolis Colts 20

Benji says:

I know, I know, the “desperation formula” technically failed twice last week, but I think that I was too liberal in my assignments of “talented teams.” Upon further review, Buffalo should never have qualified for such a distinction. I am going to give the formula one more spin and see what happens: The Chargers are a talented team, playing at home in a must-win game.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 30, Indianapolis Colts 20

Green Bay Packers (5-5) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)

The King says:

The Saints, who last played at home when Danny Abromowitz suited up, are now in danger of having Drew Brees break one of the sports most respected records — Dan Marino’s 5,084 passing yards in a season — in some meaningless games. Going 5-6 with suspensions looming is not a good sign in a division with three teams better than you.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 36, New Orleans Saints 27

Benji says:

I’ve got to go with my preseason pick for the NFC’s Super Bowl entrant here, the Green Bay Packers. New Orleans cannot play defense at all (ranked 24th in the league in yards allowed) and despite the tremendous statistical season that Drew Brees is having, it has struggled to find week-to-week consistency in terms of scoring points. Green Bay looked very impressive last week against the Bears and nearly beat the undefeated Titans three weeks ago. Its pass defense has allowed the second fewest passing yards per game and has forced the most interceptions (16) in the league.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, New Orleans Saints 20


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