King Says, Benji Says (Week 13)

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kingbenjiweek13

I apologize for both the lateness of this post and the idiotic expressions on our faces during our latest photo shoot—both offenses can be directly attributed to the turkey-induced comas from which His Majesty and I recently awoke. If I can’t beat The King (last week I lost yet another pick in the standings), I might as well join him in some wholesome, face-stuffing, artery-clogging fun, right?

Last Week:

Peter King (10-6)
Benji (9-7)
Brian (12-4)

Overall (not including the Thanksgiving games):

Peter King (115-60-1)
Benji (103-72-1)
Brian (114-61-1)

San Francisco 49ers (3-8) at Buffalo Bills (6-5)

The King says:

Trent Edwards. Reviled to revived.


Prediction: Buffalo Bills 20, San Francisco 49ers 16

Benji says:

You might as well call His Majesty “Mr. A-to-Z,” because he is all about the word play. Personally, I would have preferred something a little more substantive that actually relates to the match-up at hand. I’m also not really buying the Trent Edwards “revival,” because I do not think he is that great a player and I have yet to see him come through against a team with a good defense. Fortunately for The King and the rest of the Trent Edwards fan club, the 49ers’ defense is pretty mediocre, ranking 24th in the league in sacks and 23rd in total yards allowed. Plus, now that winter has arrived, Buffalo’s home field advantage is sure to come into play—Sunday’s weather forecast calls for a game-time temperature in the low 30s with snow showers and squalls.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 23, San Francisco 49ers 12

Baltimore Ravens (7-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-9)

The King says:

Orange juice. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. Baltimore’s offense. It’s not just for nothing anymore.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 30, Cincinnati Bengals 9

Benji says:

Two word sentences that defy the need for proper punctuation. They’re not just for C-level high school English papers anymore. Double negatives. They’re not just for Eve 6 songs anymore. This game. It’s not much of a contest anymore, now that Carson Palmer needs Tommy John surgery and has been replaced at quarterback by Ryan Fitzpatrick. On the bright side, Fitzpatrick, an Ivy League grad, could probably get a job as His Majesty’s writing tutor if he decides to quit playing football.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 26, Cincinnati Bengals 13

Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Cleveland Browns (4-7)

The King says:

The wind won’t be the only thing howling off Lake Erie Sunday, and the turkey won’t be the only thing Browns fans will want on a platter. If you know what I mean.


Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 24, Cleveland Browns 6

Benji says:

It’s a good thing that His Majesty is married, because if his efforts at insinuation here are any indication, his skills for wooing the ladies must be almost as bad as mine. “Want to go check out another buffet spread? If you know what I mean…” Well, Your Majesty, I think that the Browns’ defense (now ranked 27th in the league in yards allowed, just ahead of Denver) is really struggling and the Indianapolis offense looks really good right now, which should add up to an easy win for the Colts. If you know what I mean…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 30, Cleveland Browns 16

Carolina Panthers (8-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)

The King says:

The mysterious season of the Panthers continues. Though if I were John Fox this weekend, I’d insist on a heavy dose of DeAngelo Williams. Last four games for Williams: 108, 140, 120, 101 yards.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 33, Carolina Panthers 17

Benji says:

The mysterious season of the Panthers? How about the mysterious season of the Packers—two weeks ago, the defense completely flummoxed the Bears and last week it was ripped to shreds by the Saints. I solved the Carolina mystery a long time ago—the guilty party is quarterback Jake Delhomme. As he goes, the Panthers go, and if you look at the statistics, he has only faced one top-ten pass defense this season. In that game, against the Buccaneers, he threw three interceptions. Green Bay ranks sixth in the league in pass defense and I would expect an inspired effort from that squad on Sunday, as it is playing at home in a game that the Packers’ playoff hopes hinge upon.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 24, Carolina Panthers 13

Miami Dolphins (6-5) at St. Louis Rams (2-9)

The King says:

Chad Pennington is not just a complementary player anymore. He’s dangerous. Since he’s gotten the offense down pat, he’s been among the top three or four quarterbacks in football. In his last nine games, he’s had a QB rating higher than 90 in seven of them.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 40, St. Louis Rams 12

Benji says:

Pennington has performed very well this season but I still see him as a complementary player. Maybe I could be swayed by a more convincing argument, but by only using his QB rating (a dubious stat that you yourself have called into question) to substantiate your stance, Your Majesty, you are making him out to be exactly the type of role player that I think he is. If and when the Dolphins beat the Rams on Sunday, it will be because Miami’s team is better than St. Louis’s; not because Chad Pennington is an elite quarterback.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, St. Louis Rams 19

Denver Broncos (6-5) at New York Jets (8-3)

The King says:

Randy Cross pointed out this excellent stat to me: Of the Denver starting 24 — including punter and kicker — 18 are first-, second- or third-year players. Tough to go on the road in a very tough place with a lousy defense and a team of 25-year-olds and beat the hottest team in the AFC.

Prediction: New York Jets 37, Denver Broncos 13

Benji says:

Do not be fooled by the Jets’ defensive dominance in their game against the Titans last week. Tennessee was due to lose a game and New York’s defense, which does an excellent job of stopping the run (4th in the NFL in yards allowed per carry), matched up well against the Titans’ offense. The Jets still cannot stop the pass, ranking 26th in the league in passing yards allowed, just behind such elite passing defenses as the Saints’ and Broncos’ squads. Do not be drawn in by His Majesty’s ridiculous score line—this is a good match-up for Jay Cutler and the Broncos’ passing attack and it should be a close game.

Prediction: New York Jets 30, Denver Broncos 27

New Orleans Saints (6-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

The King says:

Drew Brees just dropped 51 on the Packers, but now he’ll face a real defense, with real speed. And for all of you wondering when I’m going to get my head out of my hiney and put Brees on my MVP Watch, uh, that will happen this week. It’s already happened.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29, New Orleans Saints 26

Benji says:

I know, I already learned the hard way not to bet against the home team in NFC South divisional match-ups, but all streaks were made to be broken, right? The Saints’ offense just looks unstoppable right now and, unlike His Majesty, I have some respect left for the Packers’ defense. I have very little respect for the Tampa Bay offense, which is only capable of scoring on a short field or against bad defenses. The Buccaneers’ defense should be able to contain Brees better than the Packers did, but I still think that this might turn into a shootout, a type of game that Tampa will struggle to win under any circumstance against any defense.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

New York Giants (10-1) at Washington Redskins (7-4)

The King says:

We talked about this Tuesday with center Shaun O’Hara on Sirius NFL Radio: Who’s the MVP of the Giants? Eli Manning? Brandon Jacobs? Split five ways between the offensive line? Justin Tuck? Fred Robbins? O’Hara said the right thing: This is the best tribute to the Giants you could make — there’s a slew of valuable players.

Prediction: New York Giants 19, Washington Redskins 16

Benji says:

As a general rule, Your Majesty, a good team is comprised of a group of “valuable players” and I think that we can agree that the 2008 Giants are a really good team. How does your discussion of which of these “valuable players” is most valuable relate to your pick, though? The Redskins are 7-4, are playing at home and you predict that they will keep the game close—I want to know why! I’ll tell you what I came up with, while I was surfing the internet on my Apple iMac, drinking Formula-50 Vitamin Water and unbuttoning the top button of my Ralph Lauren striped polo shirt (note to sponsors: if I missed making any plugs for your products, leave a comment and I’ll add them in later)—the Redskins are not as good as their 7-4 record. Their defense is solid (allowing the third fewest total yards in the league) but their offense cannot score touchdowns—they have only scored 201 points on the season, two more than the 199 that they have allowed. Washington will be hard-pressed to keep up with a Giants team that can score on the ground and through the air and has already had offensive success against Baltimore and Pittsburgh (the two defenses ranked ahead of Washington in yards allowed). The Redskins are about to be exposed as the pretenders that they really are…

Prediction: New York Giants 30, Washington Redskins 16

Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) at Oakland Raiders (3-8)

The King says:

What a weird game the Raiders had last Sunday, putting up 31 with the quarterback throwing it 11 times. But that’s a good series of play-calls from the coach — knowing his quarterback is still very much a work in progress and also knowing he can get great traction against a light-in-the-pants Denver defensive front.

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 31, Kansas City Chiefs 19

Benji says:

The Chiefs’ defensive front is certainly not much of an upgrade over the Broncos, as it is on pace to shatter the record for fewest sacks in a season, and the Kansas City defense as a whole has allowed the most yards per game in the league. That being said, the Oakland passing game is terrible and its running game is inconsistent. On the other hand, I really like the direction that Kansas City’s offense is going in: Tyler Thigpen has emerged has a promising young quarterback, Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez are great options for him to throw to and Larry Johnson is rounding back into form at running back. I do not trust the Raiders to put forth two consecutive solid efforts on offense, and I know that Kansas City will put points on the board. Also, is Oakland good enough to sweep a season series with any team in the league, even one that has only won one game?

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 33, Oakland Raiders 16

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) at New England Patriots (7-4)

The King says:

In the last four weeks, Matt Cassel has outpassed Ben Roethlisberger by 93 yards a game. You know why I think he outplays Roethlisberger in Foxboro on Sunday? Because there’s no part of the playbook Josh McDaniels doesn’t trust him with now. With the leash off, I say Cassel will have enough gumption to lead four scoring drives.

Prediction: New England Patriots 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 16

Benji says:

We are in agreement on one thing here, Your Majesty—Matt Cassel has really come into his own over the last few games. The Steelers’ defense is really good (tops in the league in both points and yards allowed) but is it good enough to slow down New England’s methodical passing game on the road? I would never have dreamed of writing that last sentence three weeks ago, but at this point I think that the Patriots are in good position to beat the Steelers at home in a game that they need to win more than their opponent does.

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Atlanta Falcons (7-4) at San Diego Chargers (4-7)

The King says:

Here’s the scariest note of all, if Denver loses at the Jets and the Chargers win this one: San Diego would be 5-7, Denver 6-6, setting up the legitimate chance that the AFC West could be won with a 7-9 record. Imagine San Diego hosting Denver in Week 17, with the Chargers 6-9 and Broncos 7-8. Chargers win. Let’s go to the tiebreakers. They’d have split the season series. Now we go to division record. As of this morning, San Diego’s 2-1 and Denver 2-2. The Chargers have Oakland at home and Kansas City on the road before Denver in the last game. Denver has Kansas City at home. If you ask me, the AFC West will be won with a 7-9 record.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 23, Atlanta Falcons 21

Benji says:

The scenario that His Majesty describes, a team with a losing record making the playoffs looks quite plausible at this point. The Broncos have lost games by multiple scores to the Raiders and the Chiefs, two teams that a real playoff contender would defeat rather easily; the Chargers have beaten all of the bad teams (they do not have a loss to a team with a losing record) and have played two likely playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Indianapolis) close over the past two weeks. Denver has one of the worst defenses in the league and no running game to speak of; San Diego has LaDanian Tomlinson, who although declining is still far better than any runner on the Broncos, and a defense that, while not spectacular, can make some stops. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Chargers are a better team than the Broncos, whose only saving grace is their excellent passing game, and if San Diego wins this game, it will be in good position to make a late run at the division title. Let’s give the desperation formula one more try: the Chargers are a talented team, playing at home in a game that they need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 30, Atlanta Falcons 22

Chicago Bears (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

The King says:

Big day for Adrian Peterson, and it had better be one. He’s going to be tough to catch and trap on the carpet of the Metrodome.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 20, Chicago Bears 13

Benji says:

How quickly you forget the last meeting between these two teams, Your Majesty, a 48-41 shootout. Chicago won that game and should be favored to win this one as well, based on the match-up. Both the Vikings and the Bears have phenomenal run defenses, ranking second and third in the league, respectively, in yards allowed per carry, but also struggle to defend the pass consistently, posting average passing yardage numbers that rank them 22nd and 30th in the NFL. The team that gets better quarterback play will win this game, and while Gus Frerotte is 6-3 as the starter for the Vikings, he has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in those nine games (12 to 11), including four picks in the aforementioned loss to Chicago earlier in the season; meanwhile, Kyle Orton has thrown only four interceptions during that span, compared to 11 touchdown passes (the same number as Frerotte). At some point, Frerotte’s inability to take care of the ball will derail Minnesota’s playoff hopes and I believe that it will happen this week, in a game between heated division rivals that both teams need to win.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 33, Minnesota Vikings 26

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) at Houston Texans (4-7)

The King says:

I have a feeling the Jaguars players are about to turn the station on Jack Del Rio. If they respond the rest of the season and the Jags win two or three games, I think he survives. If not, even a trusting owner like Wayne Weaver might have seen enough.

Prediction: Houston Texans 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Benji says:

Both His Majesty and I had high hopes for the Jaguars this year (predicting them to reach the AFC Championship Game) as I am sure the Jacksonville organization and fan base did as well. As they say, though, the best laid plans of goobers and doofuses often go awry. The Jaguars’ success last year was predicated on them running the ball effectively and controlling the clock; this year, due to injuries on the offensive line and Fred Taylor’s decline, their running game has been a shadow of its former self. The Texans struggle to stop opposing runners (allowing 4.5 yards per carry) but their offense has played well as of late and if they get a lead, the Jaguars and their anemic passing game will have a difficult time forging a comeback.

Prediction: Houston Texans 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 17

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