King Says, Benji Says (Week 16)

by

benjiandkingknowkungfu

Thursday night picks are so overrated. Am I right? His Majesty and I needed some alone time so that we could settle our differences in the wake of our “trial separation” last week (when I briefly left him for Brian). Both The King and I (as well as nearly every other football analyst out there) expected the Colts to win and they did. The Jaguars kept the score close, however, losing by a single touchdown. I see myself as the picking equivalent of a 5-9 division rival in my match-up with The King, and while he has an insurmountable lead on me with two weeks remaining, I would love to narrow that gap and make the final score a respectable one. After all, I need to find something to build on for next year…

Last Week:

Peter King (11-5)
Benji (11-5)
Brian (9-7)

Overall (not including the Thursday game):

Peter King (146-77-1)
Benji (136-87-1)
Brian (146-77-1)

Baltimore Ravens (9-5) at Dallas Cowboys (9-5)

The King says:

Although I arrived late, I scalped a ticket and bought a permanent cushy seat on the Joe Flacco bandwagon. And maybe this is unfair, but it’s time for Flacco to make a play to save the Ravens’ season. In the past two weeks, Flacco’s a 43-percent passer. In the past two weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s averaging 6.9 yards per attempt, Flacco 5.1. I know the defenses are getting paid too, but kid, it’s time to grow up. Fast.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 16, Baltimore Ravens 13

Benji says:

I’m trying to figure out why you’re jumping on the Flacco bandwagon now, Your Majesty, when, as you point out, he has not played well down the stretch. It actually sounds to me as though you are jumping off his bandwagon, as you call on him to “make a play to save the Ravens’ season” and then predict that he will not come through. Clichés and effective analysis have always had a rocky relationship at best, but you just took that disjunction to a whole new level. As for the game? The Ravens have a very good defense but it can be beaten by big plays, as the Colts demonstrated last month. The Dallas offense, which is more than capable of producing big plays in the passing game, is playing really well right now in contrast with its Baltimore counterpart.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 27, Baltimore Ravens 17

Cincinnati Bengals (2-11) at Cleveland Browns (4-10)

The King says:

Someone check Braylon Edwards’ birth certificate. I think he’s 12. Did you see those woe-is-me comments from him the other day? Wrong time, Braylon. Waaaaaaaaay wrong.


Prediction: Cleveland Browns 23, Cincinnati Bengals 16

Benji says:

Your Majesty, while I agree with your assessment of Braylon Edwards—he really does come across as having the emotional maturity of a 12-year old—I fail to see how this observation is helpful in explaining why you think that the Browns will win the game. The Bengals just beat the Redskins (a decent team), while the Browns were blown out by the Eagles on Monday Night. While Cincinnati’s quarterback situation is not ideal, Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like Carson Palmer compared to Ken Dorsey. But what do I know? Braylon Edwards’ immature antics will surely inspire his team to play at a higher level…

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 26, Cleveland Browns 13

New Orleans Saints (7-7) at Detroit Lions (0-14)

The King says:

You know, if I keep picking the Lions, they have to win some week. Don’t they? I guess I look at it this way: I can’t believe a team can go 0-16 in this era’s NFL, and I can’t believe with the effort Rod Marinelli has these guys giving they’re going 0-16. If Detroit can stop Pierre Thomas (this is what it’s come to for New Orleans), the Leos will be 1-14 Sunday night.


Prediction: Detroit Lions 23, New Orleans Saints 21

Benji says:

History says that the Lions will find a way to win a game, but I don’t see it happening against the Saints. New Orleans’ offense will put plenty of points on the board and I cannot see the Lions keeping up unless the Saints’ defense completely falls apart. I maintain that Detroit’s best opportunity to win a game was two weeks ago against the Vikings…

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 34, Detroit Lions 23

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) at Tennessee Titans (12-2)

The King says:

I want you to understand what a feat it is that Pittsburgh has not allowed 300 yards in any game this season. Case in point, Atlanta is playing good defense this year — only 11 teams have allowed fewer points. The Falcons have allowed 12 of 14 foes to gain more than 300 yards in a game this year.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 19, Tennessee Titans 12

Benji says:

Your Majesty, I agree with you that Pittsburgh’s defense this season has been pretty impressive but I wish that you had spent a little more time discussing this very important match-up, which will likely decide the number one seed in the AFC. The Titans are hurting right now, so I do not seem them pulling this one out either. Without defensive tackle Albert Haynseworth and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch in the line-up, Tennessee will struggle to produce a consistent pass rush without blitzing. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is more than capable of finding openings down the field and should be able to take advantage.

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Tennessee Titans 13

Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)

The King says:

If you haven’t noticed, this is the score of every Miami game. Every week.


Prediction: Miami Dolphins 20, Kansas City Chiefs 16

Benji says:

I am more than a little confused by your analysis for this game, but I suppose that The King’s words work in mysterious ways. Miami has not scored exactly 20 points in any game this season, only one of its opponents has scored exactly 16 points in a game, and you normally predict strange lopsided scores in Miami’s games, despite the fact that its offense cannot convert on third down. All that being said, the Dolphins do not make critical mistakes on offense and are much less likely than the Jets to lose a late-season game to a bad team.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 20, Kansas City Chiefs 17

San Francisco 49ers (5-9) at St. Louis Rams (2-12)

The King says:

So I’m on a two-game losing streak in my WEEI Fantasy League in Boston. (Don’t ask me for fantasy tips. I stink like swine.) And this morning, I picked up Shaun Hill to replace Donovan McNabb at quarterback. Shaun, if you want positive press in the most prestigious sports magazine in the world, you’ll throw for 343 and three touchdowns Sunday.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 31, St. Louis Rams 13

Benji says:

As a former reader of The King’s “fantasy tips” segment a few years back, I can attest to his swine-like stinking. He could be onto something here, but I would still take my chances with McNabb. Oh, sorry, we were supposed to talk about the game, not the fantasy implications of a single player involved. Well, regardless of how Shaun Hill plays for the 49ers, I still think they win easily against the Rams, who are truly awful.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 26, St. Louis Rams 13

Arizona Cardinals (8-6) at New England Patriots (9-5)

The King says:

Cards have lost three East Coast games by an average of 22 points, and I will join A-Rod at Kabbalah classes if the Pats don’t make it 0-4. Forecast for Sunday, 1 p.m. in Foxboro: 33 degrees, 17-mph winds, 60 percent chance of flurries.

Prediction: New England Patriots 29, Arizona Cardinals 10

Benji says:

Regardless of the weather forecast (and worrying about flurries in your pick is a bit of a stretch), the Cardinals have almost nothing to play for right now. They clinched their division and cannot move up or down in the playoff seeding. Arizona may bench receiver Anquan Boldin so as to get him healthy for the playoffs, which leads me to believe that it is not really concerned with the outcome of this game. New England needs to win out in order to be assured of a playoff spot and will surely put forth a good effort in this game.

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Arizona Cardinals 13

San Diego Chargers (6-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5)

The King says:

The Bucs need to beat the Chargers and Raiders at home to be in prime playoff position. I can’t confirm this, but I think Jon Gruden just sent a love letter to Howard Katz, the NFL TV honcho who presides over schedule-making, for this sweet end-of-season slate.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, San Diego Chargers 6

Benji says:

I’m sure the schedule didn’t look quite as sweet back when it was made, as the Chargers were widely viewed as Super Bowl contenders. San Diego is still capable of winning this game, but I do not trust this team at all. The Chargers have been inconsistent all season long, and have not played well enough on the road for me to justify picking them to win here. Still, Tampa’s defense has not looked very good over the past few weeks and its offense has trouble scoring points…

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16, San Diego Chargers 13

Buffalo Bills (6-8) at Denver Broncos (8-6)

The King says:

The Bills will play hard, and I’m not sure what the Broncos will play for, after learning they’ve clinched the AFC West shortly after the opening kickoff.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 20, Buffalo Bills 19

Benji says:

I tend to agree with you, Your Majesty, because I do not see the Chargers traveling to Tampa and beating the Buccaneers. The Bills make so many critical mistakes, however, that, like you, I cannot in good conscience pick them to win a game right now.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 20, Buffalo Bills 19

Houston Texans (7-7) at Oakland Raiders (3-11)

The King says:

Prediction: This will be a single-play highlight on NBC’s “Football Night in America.” And it will be Matt Schaub throwing a 63-yard touchdown pass in the McAfee muck to Andre Johnson.

Prediction: Houston Texans 38, Oakland Raiders 13

Benji says:

After knocking off the Titans and the then-desperate Packers in consecutive weeks, the Texans are starting to turn some heads. It’s too bad that they started off the season so poorly (and with so many road games due to Hurricane Ike) because they are playing well enough to beat just about any team in the AFC right now. I agree with you, Your Majesty, The Raiders will be completely outclassed in this game.

Prediction: Houston Texans 38, Oakland Raiders 13

Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at Minnesota Vikings (9-5)

The King says:

Pat Williams’ absence with a broken shoulder is the answer to the prayers of Michael Turner (27 carries, 120 yards, 37 minutes of Falcons possession time).

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 23, Minnesota Vikings 16

Benji says:

Even with Pat Williams out, I don’t think you can beat Minnesota simply by running the ball. The key to this game will be Atlanta receiver Roddy White, who should find plenty of openings against the Vikings’ unreliable pass defense (22nd in the league in yards allowed). I also feel like Minnesota’s inconsistent starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is due for a bad game after two straight solid outings…

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 27, Minnesota Vikings 19

New York Jets (9-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-11)

The King says:

A 19-point loss at San Diego is understandable. A three-point loss at Oakland is not. A 10-point loss at San Francisco … well, that’s what you call a trend. The Jets and the West Coast don’t mix this year, particularly not when it’s the relatively beloved Mike Holmgren’s last game in Seattle … and Kathy Holmgren is raising the 12th Man Flag up the flagpole in the south end zone before the game. If you haven’t been to Qwest, let me explain this: Raising that flag is the latter-day equivalent of Harry Caray singing in the 7th. Very big out there.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 22, New York Jets 20

Benji says:

I’m not sure if it’s just the West Coast travel element that has hurt the Jets this season—I think they might just have a mediocre team. New York’s run defense is solid (ranked sixth in the league at 3.7 yards per carry) but its pass defense is ranked 29th in the league in passing yards allowed. Its running game is solid but its passing offense is a complete mystery, looking unstoppable some weeks and completely ineffective in others. The Jets are more than capable of losing to a Seattle team that almost beat the Patriots a few weeks back—the weather conditions (an 80 percent chance of snow) would seem to favor the team with the better running game and run defense, though, so I’ll stake my claim with the Jets.

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Seattle Seahawks 16

Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) at Washington Redskins (7-7)

The King says:

Late in the game, all Dan Snyder can think is: “Now where’d I put Mike Holmgren’s cell number?”

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 24, Washington Redskins 16

Benji says:

The Redskins have completely imploded at this point, and will likely be without the services of running back Clinton Portis. The Eagles should win this game very easily. Any speculation about the future coaching situation in Washington seems a bit premature, though, Your Majesty. We are picking football games here, not gossiping on Si.com’s Truth and Rumors site…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Washington Redskins 13

Carolina Panthers (11-3) at New York Giants (11-3)

The King says:

Well, look on the bright side, Giants: At least you’re going to score a touchdown. This game will come down to a battle of run defenses, and a duel of the biggest back in the game, Brandon Jacobs (playing hurt) and a mid-sized back playing like Brandon Jacobs, DeAngelo Williams. I think Williams breaks 100.


Prediction: Carolina Panthers 17, New York Giants 13

Benji says:

The Panthers’ running game looks unstoppable right now and the Giants’ looks completely stagnant. Teams are playing base defenses against New York and forcing quarterback Eli Manning to beat them by throwing deep. Without a deep play threat and with Brandon Jacobs still hurting (even if he plays), the Giants’ offense is in serious trouble right now. Three weeks ago, I would not have even considered picking the Panthers to win this game, and now I do not see how they can lose.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 27, New York Giants 17

Green Bay Packers (5-9) at Chicago Bears (8-6)

The King says:

For those wanting to blame the Packers falling to 5-10 on Aaron Rodgers replacing Brett Favre, I bring you these two numbers: 339 and 243. The first is how many points the Pack has allowed through 14 games this year. The second is how many points they allowed through 14 games last year.


Prediction: Chicago Bears 24, Green Bay Packers 20

Benji says:

I believe that a few weeks back, YOU implied that the Packers would have a better record right now with Brett Favre at quarterback, Your Majesty. I’m not going to let that one slide, either—expect a follow-up post in the near future…. As for this game, the Bears’ offense has looked shaky as of late, but Chicago has so much more to play for than Green Bay right now. I expect running back Matt Forte to have a huge day against the Packers’ horrendous run defense, which is allowing 4.8 yards per carry.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 23, Green Bay Packers 16

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