Archive for September, 2009

King Says, Benji Says (Week 3)

September 26, 2009

KingStrugglesToDisguiseHisMisplacedGleeWhileBenjiPlotsHisRevenge

You can wipe that poorly disguised smirk off of your face, Your Majesty—while you managed to overtake me in the standings by a single game, neither of us has anything to be proud of after the pigskin pandemonium that ensued last weekend. All three of the teams (the Bengals, Raiders and Bills) who suffered devastating losses in Week One rebounded and, much to my chagrin as I essentially guaranteed in last week’s column that they would all get blown out, ended up winning (the Raiders and Bengals as underdogs) in Week Two. I’ll let you gloat a little bit, Your Royal Doofus—you did correctly pick one of those three teams (Buffalo), and as it stands right now, that single game is all that separates us. For those of you looking for an update on Brian’s picks, I can neither confirm nor deny the TMZ report that claims he was spotted with his laptop, a Magic 8 Ball and two Playboy playmates at various New York City bars last Saturday night…

Last Week:

Peter King (9-7)

Benji (8-8)

Brian (6-10)

Overall:

Peter King (21-11)

Benji (20-12)

Brian (18-14)

Washington Redskins (1-1) at Detroit Lions (0-2)

King Says:

I don’t care what line Vegas gives this game. I won’t consider this much of an upset. If Matthew Stafford plays efficiently and Kevin Smith gets two more holes than he had against the Great Wall of Minnesota, the Lions will have enough to win.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 16, Washington Redskins 13

Benji Says:

I agree that both of these teams are pretty bad, Your Majesty, but when a team that has lost 19 in a row plays a game, regardless of the opponent, it stands to reason that it would be viewed as an underdog, no? While I disagree with your diction, I agree with your pick. The Redskins looked terrible last week against the Rams, and the Lions are due for a win.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 16, Washington Redskins 13

Green Bay Packers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)

King Says:

There will be some juice in the Ed Jones Dome for the first home game of the Spags Era, but juice can’t rush the passer.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 23, St. Louis Rams 17

Benji Says:

The home crowd for a terrible NFL team :: juice

Peter King :: protein shake

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, St. Louis Rams 20

San Francisco 49ers (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (2-0)

King Says:

The Niners are a good story, but the Vikings will continue steamrolling this week. I think Brad Childress will take the wraps off Brett Favre this week, in part because he knows Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt will protect Favre. Weird Stat of the Week: The Vikings are 32nd in the NFL in passing yards (119.0 per game).

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 23, San Francisco 49ers 10

Benji Says:

Contrary to popular (or at least doofusish) belief, NFL teams rarely pass the ball a lot when they are involved in blowout games against terrible teams and are trying to run the clock out. The Vikings may have to pass a lot more this week, though, faced with a team that is actually capable of scoring points and has a decent run defense…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 20, San Francisco 49ers 17

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at New England Patriots (1-1)

King Says:

Talking to Kerry Rhodes after the Jets’ beatdown of the Pats, I made this point: New York threw seven, five and six rushers at Brady on the last three Patriots’ snaps of the game, and Brady never knew where the rush was coming from. “And on the plays we only rushed three or four, he didn’t know if we had more coming, because different guys were coming from different spots all game,” he said. Now, I think Patriots Nation has to realize the sky is not falling based on eight C-minus quarters so far. But I also think Atlanta makes enough plays with an efficient quarterback (Matt Ryan has studied all aspects of Brady’s game, by the way) to outplay Brady in Foxboro.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 24, New England Patriots 16

Benji Says:

The Patriots have not lost two games in a row since midway through the 2006 season. Am I clinging to an outdated stat out of desperation? Maybe. I just think that New England is bound to play better than it did the first two weeks, and I also think Atlanta may be a tad overrated…

Prediction: New England Patriots 30, Atlanta Falcons 20

Tennessee Titans (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0)

King Says:

Only one team in the NFL can afford to go 0-3 this weekend yet still have legitimate playoff hopes, and that’s Tennessee. Having said that, if I’m Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, my gameplan this week has 28 touches for Chris Johnson, because against this weird, unpredictable Jets front, the only way to beat it is to throw a cat-quick back at it. On 28 touches, I’d say Johnson hits two home runs and has a few other gashers. I just don’t think it’ll be enough to win this game.

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Tennessee Titans 17

Benji Says:

The Jets’ defense looked great against the Patriots last weekend, but I suspect that this might be a letdown game for New York against a desperate Titans team. Also, as His Majesty pointed out, Chris Johnson may serve some aces, bowl a strike or [insert incongruent sports metaphor here]…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 23, New York Jets 20

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

King Says:

Michael Vick’s line in his debut: 13 plays, seven carries for 38 yards (one touchdown), three passes, three completions for 35 yards, two Wildcat handoffs, one wide-receiver decoy.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 29, Kansas City Chiefs 20

Benji Says:

I’m holding you to those exact numbers, Your Majesty. Personally, I’m guessing 12 plays, six carries for 37 yards (one touchdown), four completions for 36 yards, three Wildcat handoffs, two wide-receiver decoys and two ridiculous stat-line predictions in a picks column for Vick…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Kansas City Chiefs 13

New York Giants (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)

King Says:

Good thing Jerry Reese doesn’t listen to media geniuses like me. I railed about the G-men making a big mistake by not acquiring Anquan Boldin before the draft to pair with wideout Steve Smith, saying good general managers need to know when to make moves to get veteran players to help win-now teams win now. So here’s Boldin, with an ouchy hamstring, and the man playing his role with the Giants, Mario Manningham, after two weeks: Boldin, 10 catches, 88 yards, no touchdowns; Manningham, 13 catches, 208 yards, two touchdowns. The season’s young, but touche’, Mr. Reese.

Prediction: New York Giants 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

Benji Says:

The Giants are really good…and they seem to have their wide receiver situation (last year’s Achilles heel) figured out. Look out, NFC…

Prediction: New York Giants 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

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

King Says:

This is the week to use Baltimore in your knockout pools, America.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 37, Cleveland Browns 13

Benji Says:

Every time you make a cocky and dismissive statement like that, Your Majesty, I desperately want you to be wrong so that Brian and I can mock you mercilessly. Not going to happen here, though. The Browns were in bad enough shape before losing Jamal Lewis to injury…

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 35, Cleveland Browns 13

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Houston Texans (1-1)

King Says:

If the Texans are to challenge Indy for the AFC South title, the next four weeks are vital. Jacksonville, Oakland, at Arizona, at Cincinnati. They’ve got to go 3-1 to be serious about winning the division.

Prediction: Houston Texans 30, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Benji Says:

The Jaguars are dead to me—they looked terrible at home last week against the Cardinals. So much for that preseason playoff pick…

Prediction: Houston Texans 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

New Orleans Saints (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)

King Says:

Every time I watch the Saints line up on first-and-10, I see Kurt Warner running the Greatest Show on Turf.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 33, Buffalo Bills 30

Benji Says:

Maybe it’s just me, but when I watch the Saints line up on first-and-10, I usually see Drew Brees…

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 35, Buffalo Bills 23

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

King Says:

Ben Roethlisberger walks into the Steelers complex Wednesday morning and says to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians: “Who is this Antwan Odom, and where did he come from?” Odom’s the right end in the Bengals’ base 4-3, and an outside rush man on passing downs, and so far, he’s beaten some edge protection that hasn’t respected him much. Watch for the Steelers to chip-protect on Odom with an extra back or tight end on passing downs.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 29, Cincinnati Bengals 20

Benji Says:

The Bengals’ defense has certainly looked impressive during the first two weeks. The offense still seems shaky to me though. Carson Palmer needs to show me more before I can justify picking Cincinnati to beat a team as good as the Steelers…

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 17

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Oakland Raiders (1-1)

King Says:

I’ll never forget Josh McDaniels’ sentiments last March, when all the Jay Cutler mayhem was swirling around his team and he was being pilloried around Denver for being a rube who didn’t realize what a great thing he had in this franchise quarterback. At the end of the day, he told me, the only thing that matters is winning; if we win starting in September, no one will care about this stuff. He’s having an early last laugh here.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 16, Oakland Raiders 12

Benji Says:

McDaniels can laugh all he wants right now—he better get it all out of his system because there won’t be much for him to chuckle about by the end of the season. After a gifted win and a blowout of the hapless Browns, the Broncos are the shakiest 2-0 team I’ve ever seen. Did I say 2-0? Soon to be 3-0. Oakland’s quarterback JaMarcus Russell is the least accurate passer in the league…he only completed 7 of 24 passes against a mediocre Kansas City pass defense last week! (Sorry, Brian, I know he’s your boy)

Prediction: Denver Broncos 19, Oakland Raiders 18

Miami Dolphins (0-2) at San Diego Chargers (1-1)

King Says:

Remember all the folks who said we were overplaying the tough-schedule angle when discussing the 2009 Fish? Well, they’re 0-2, and five of their next six games come against legit playoff contenders (Chargers, Bills, Jets, Saints, Jets, Pats). That’s a schedule being a factor right there.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 31, Miami Dolphins 16

Benji Says:

The Dolphins are in serious trouble. They’re the same team that they were last year—solid and good enough to beat the better teams on a given day if they control the clock—but the scheduling gods are definitely paying them back for the easy journey to the playoffs that they had last year. As for the Chargers, they need to shore up their defense and score some touchdowns in the red-zone—they’re a work in progress, but still too much for the Dolphins to handle after a tough loss to the Colts and a short week.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 23, Miami Dolphins 16

Chicago Bears (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

King Says:

I’m not saying Matt Hasselbeck is a candidate for MVP or anything like that. But the dropoff from Hasselbeck to Seneca Wallace is like the dropoff from Peyton Manning to Jim Sorgi.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 24, Seattle Seahawks 20

Benji Says:

You’re right, Your Majesty, but as usual, for the wrong reasons.

Matt Hasselbeck (2008 season): seven games, 52.2 percent completion percentage, 1216 yards, five touchdown passes, 10 interceptions

Seneca Wallace (2008 season): 10 games, 58.3 percent completion percentage, 1532 yards, 11 touchdown passes, three interceptions.

I’m not saying Hasselbeck is a worse player than Seneca Wallace over the course of his entire career, but his numbers from last year (during the seven games when he was actually healthy enough to play) are pretty damning. Your Wallace/Sorgi comparison is so absurd that I will have to assume you were joking…

Prediction: Chicago Bears 24, Seattle Seahawks 20

Indianapolis Colts (2-0) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

King Says:

If Peyton Manning puts up 27 points in 14 minutes, shouldn’t he put up 60 in 30 minutes? Just kidding. (Sort of.) By the way, how great a streak is NBC on with these prime-time games? Titans-Steelers go to overtime, Cutler fails to score the winner in the last minute at Green Bay, Eli overcomes first-and-20 on the Dallas 15 with 105,000 screaming to drive the Giants to the winning points in the Jerryworld opener. And now Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner duel for the last time (barring a Super meeting) in their lives.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 30, Arizona Cardinals 27

Benji Says:

Peyton Manning looked great on Monday, but his defense was really shaky. The Colts never made any adjustments to the Dolphins’ “wildcat” plays, which allowed Miami to control the pace of the game. Imagine what a really good offense (like say the Cardinals’) might be able to do against the Bob Sanders-less Indianapolis defense? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday night. This one could be fun to watch…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 30, Indianapolis Colts 27

Carolina Panthers (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

King Says:

I’ve had enough of this get-rid-of-Tony Romo crap. It’s ridiculous. This team lost to the Giants for many reasons, only one of which was Romo’s three turnovers. It was more because a ridiculous early-season trend for the Cowboys continued. They haven’t forced a turnover. They haven’t sacked two immobile quarterbacks — Byron Leftwich and Eli Manning — in eight quarters. Until that changes, Dallas will be an incomplete team that has to win games by scoring in the thirties every week.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 33, Carolina Panthers 24

Benji Says:

Speaking of immobile pocket passers—how about that Jake Delhomme guy that plays for the Panthers? I’m still waiting for him to finish unraveling and lose his job. Maybe it happens on Monday night?

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 33, Carolina Panthers 13

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Royal Words of Wisdom

September 22, 2009

When I logged into my Peter King Challenge Picks page this afternoon, I discovered, to my delight, that His Majesty had left me a personalized message. I found his words of encouragement (those of you who follow our weekly picking battles will note that he recently inched ahead of me in the standings) to be thoughtful and profound, and I could not resist the urge the reprint them and share his motivational message with all of you:

WordsOfWisdomFromHisMajesty

Thank you, Peter King, for inspiring me to reach for future greatness in my football picking…as well as firmly closing the heated debate among bloggers on your coffee creamer of choice.

King Says, Benji Says (Week 2)

September 18, 2009

KingAndIDressedUpInOurSundayBest

One week in the books, and His Majesty and I are both sitting pretty. In fact, Brian, King and myself were all one fluky deflection into the hands of Brandon Stokley away from a 13-3 week. Hopefully we didn’t overdress for Week 2? The NFL has a way of humbling those who act cocky about their fashion sense and/or football knowledge…

Last Week:

Peter King (12-4)

Benji (12-4)

Brian (12-4)

Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0)

King Says:

A.J. Feeley is too nice a guy to ever say this, but there’s a reason why he took the Carolina opportunity to be a backup rather than the Eagles’ job offer — he sees blood in the water. Jake Delhomme is in the most miserable stretch of his NFL career, and he’s got one or two or three games to pull himself out of it before John Fox has to make a change.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 27, Carolina Panthers 10

Benji Says:

The Panthers are in serious trouble—A.J. Feeley has always been a competent back-up and nothing more. At this point, though, he probably is a better option than Jake Delhomme. I don’t think Delhomme has three games to prove himself—I think if he turns the ball over multiple times in the first half, John Fox may pull him. Bill Simmons made an inspired effort today to make a case for Delhomme redeeming himself but I’m not buying it for a second. Give me one example of a player who’s come down with the “Chuck Knoblauch disease” (former Yankee infielder who inexplicably forgot how to throw a ball straight) and was able to salvage his career…

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 30, Carolina Panthers 13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)

King Says:

My hope is Leodis McKelvin returns three kickoffs for touchdowns. He’s a good player who doesn’t deserve to be media-slaughtered for doing what a kick-returner is paid to do. Namely, return kicks.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Benji Says:

Again, let me invoke history as I justify my pick: Name me one instance in which a “snake-bitten” team overachieved against a superior opponent only to fall apart at the end of the game and lose—and responded by playing well the next week.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28, Buffalo Bills 17

Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Detroit Lions (0-1)

King Says:

In 2007 at Ford Field, Detroit beat the Vikes on a Jason Hanson field goal in OT, 20-17. In 2008 at Ford Field, the Vikes overcame a 13-10 fourth-quarter deficit to win 20-16; at the Metrodome last year, the Vikes survived 12-10, thanks largely to Lions QB Dan Orlovsky running blindly out of the back of the end zone. This is going to be an emotional game, the Lions returning home and starting yet another new era. Jim Schwartz is going to send the house at Brett Favre, and I think the Lions will get there a few times and force him into some mistakes.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 23, Minnesota Vikings 21

Benji Says:

It’s King’s turn to give the history lesson this time around and he’s certainly done his homework. Maybe he should have spent a little more time paying attention to this year’s Lions team though. These Lions allowed Drew Brees to pass for 358 yards and six touchdowns last week. I’m not too worried about Detroit’s pass rush bothering Favre, especially with one of the strongest offensive lines in the league protecting him.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 20

Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)

King Says:

Same score as Cincinnati’s last trip to Lambeau, when Carson Palmer was a sophomore in high school and the Green Bay quarterback was Brett Favre in the midst of his first MVP season. It could be another Green Bay quarterback is in the midst of his first MVP season.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10

Benji Says:

I’ll break this one down SAT/GRE prep-style. Without knowing who their opponent is, I know three facts about the Bengals that provide me with enough information to pick against them here:

1. They only scored 7 points against a terrible defense last week.

2. They lost on a really unlucky play and will surely experience an emotional letdown.

3. This game is being played on the road.

Prediction: Any Opponent 30, Cincinnati Bengals 9

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

King Says:

If an offense can’t score a point against the Jets at home in Week 1, how well will it do at a team that’s allowed 13, 14 and 9 in its past three games at LP Field?

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 20, Houston Texans 13

Benji Says:

The Texans have to be better on offense than they showed last week—they have too much talent on that side of the ball. Then again, they haven’t shown me enough yet to justify picking them to win at Tennessee…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 17, Houston Texans 16

Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)

King Says:

I expect Matt Cassel to play, and my prediction goes the other way if he doesn’t. But the big factor in this game, in my opinion, is JaMarcus Russell. These are the games he has to start winning. In 20 career games, he’s completing 53 percent of his throws, and that simply has to get better.

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 21, Oakland Raiders 20

Benji Says:

I’m not sure what to make of either of these teams yet (especially since I haven’t seen Cassel play in a regular season game for the Chiefs) but I do know that the Raiders, like the Bills, blew a game they should have won against a superior opponent (the Chargers) on Monday night. There’s no way they bounce back this week…

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 23, Oakland Raiders 13

New England Patriots (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0)

King Says:

I buy the Rex Ryan kool-aid. I also buy that Leon Washington is going to be a major matchup problem for the New England linebackers, who made Fred Jackson look like Bo Jackson on Monday night.

Prediction: New York Jets 27, New England Patriots 20

Benji Says:

Thank you, Your Majesty, for giving us the first of what I expect will be many botched/mixed expressions and metaphors this season. I’m not sure yet if I’m drinking the Rex Ryan stock or selling the Texans’ kool-aid, but I do know that way too many people have been jumping on the Jets’ bandwagon this week. The Patriots’ offense is going to be really good this year…

Prediction: New England Patriots 30, New York Jets 20

New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

King Says:

With or without Donovan McNabb, the Eagles won’t find a way to stop the hottest quarterback on the planet, Drew Brees.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 29, Philadelphia Eagles 20

Benji Says:

Brees has got nothing on the “hot” quarterbacks from other planets—have you seen Venus’s top guy play? That being said, I don’t think the Eagles, minus a healthy McNabb, will be able to score enough points to keep up with the Saints this week.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 28, Philadelphia Eagles 20

St. Louis Rams (0-1) at Washington Redskins (0-1)

King Says:

In the offseason, I wondered why such a talented coach as Steve Spagnuolo would use up his one chance (maybe) at being an NFL coach on such a woebegone franchise, one that’s in the market for a new owner. I haven’t stopped wondering.

Prediction: Washington Redskins 37, St. Louis Rams 12

Benji Says:

How bad are the Rams? Well, they lost 28-0 last week to the third best team in their terrible division. Enough said…

Prediction: Washington Redskins 35, St. Louis Rams 13

Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at San Diego Chargers (1-0)

King Says:

The game of the weekend. Chargers come off a short week, shaken by not playing well in Oakland and the offensive line getting beaten up. Center Nick Hardwick could be as significant an injury for the Chargers with Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg coming to town as Brian Urlacher being out of the lineup for Chicago. In the end, Philip Rivers makes one more play than Joe Flacco.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 23, Baltimore Ravens 21

Benji Says:

Ironically, after lambasting King for ignoring the Chargers on Monday, I forgot to include this game in the first draft of my picks column. Oops. To be fair, if His Majesty organized his picks in chronological order as opposed to trying to create feng shui with team colors, it would be impossible for me to make such a mistake. But I digress…I’m taking the Chargers here because I was unimpressed by Baltimore’s defensive performance against the Chiefs—the Ravens allowed 24 points to a Brodie Croyle-led offense.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 30, Baltimore Ravens 22

Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

King Says:

The Jags started two rookie tackles in a season-opener in the 14-12 loss to Indianapolis. Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton (Spelling bee: ask a very good NFL fan to spell the name of the Jacksonville right tackle; if he can, tell him he wins a year’s supply of Monday Morning Quarterback columns) allowed only one sack Sunday at Indy. Good sign.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 23, Arizona Cardinals 21

Benji Says:

Nice contest idea, Your Majesty, but I think I already won by virtue of having a brain and access to an internet browser. As for the game, Jacksonville’s defense looked good against the Colts and the offense should be more successful this week against the Cardinals’ very average defensive unit.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 23, Arizona Cardinals 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) at Chicago Bears (0-1)

King Says:

Jay Cutler wakes up, finds Greg Olsen and Matt Forte, and plays the kind of efficient game offensive coordinator Ron Turner was convinced he’d do before The Nightmare On Oneida Avenue confused everyone last Sunday night.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 19, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

Benji Says:

In a match-up between two teams who are each without their top defensive player (Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher and Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu), I’ll take the defending champs. The Steelers’ offense is proven and the Bears’ is a work in progress…

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 26, Chicago Bears 20

Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Denver Broncos (1-0)

King Says:

Two Belichick disciples meet, and I like the offensive one to win in Denver. Kyle Orton is getting more comfortable by the week.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 17, Cleveland Browns 12

Benji Says:

Last time I checked, Your Majesty, generating six points (the fluky game-winning play aside) on offense against an atrocious pass defense is not indicative of a quarterback “getting more comfortable.” I cannot justify picking the Browns to win though—my New NFL Season’s resolution is not to pick a bad team to win on the road without a very good reason for doing so.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 17, Cleveland Browns 16

Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0)

King Says:

Weirdest stat line of Week 1: Frank Gore, 22 carries, 30 yards. Yikes. That’s got to get better, and fast, and this won’t be an easy week because Seattle’s run defense is reborn, with 644 pounds of run-stoppers (Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole) there to shut him down. This might be Shaun Hill’s game to win and, based on what I saw in Arizona last week, I think he can do it.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 23, Seattle Seahawks 16

Benji Says:

Last time I checked, weight and the skill set needed to play defensive line are not necessarily synonymous. We’ll see how Mebane and Cole play on Sunday against a real NFL team (the Rams don’t count). I think the 49ers are well-coached and have a more equal spread of talent between their offense and defense than the Seahawks. I’ll withhold judgment until I see what unfolds on Sunday though…anything can happen in the NFC West…

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 23, Seattle Seahawks 16

New York Giants (1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

King Says:

Jeff Feagles can’t hit the video board and his Dallas counterpart, Mat McBriar, won’t — if he knows what’s good for his job security. The ascension of Tony Romo continues with a three-TD-pass day.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30, New York Giants 20

Benji Says:

With a healthy Osi Umenyiora back in the fold, the Giants boast the best defensive line in the league. Let’s see how Tony Romo performs against an actual pass rush before we start talking about his “ascension…”

Prediction: New York Giants 20, Dallas Cowboys 13

Indianapolis Colts (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)

King Says:

My buddy Donnie “Brasco” Banks had a great stat and point about the man who will win this game: Peyton Manning tied Johnny Unitas for career wins as a Colt QB (118) last week. And Manning and Unitas, he wrote, are now officially the best pair of quarterbacks to play for a franchise. Agreed.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 27, Miami Dolphins 16

Benji Says:

I’m not exactly sure how Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas’s matching career win totals explain why the Colts will win this game, but I do agree with the prediction. Until I decide to randomly change my mind because someone reminds me that Dan Marino holds the single season passing yardage record, that is…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 23, Miami Dolphins 17

Fair AND Balanced!

September 14, 2009

FairANDbalanced

For a “quick-hitting” lesson on media bias and the people that make it happen, let’s turn to this week’s edition of Monday Morning Quarterback. Peter King, our favorite Starbucks swilling doofus, has decided to cover the opening Monday Night Football games in a manner so “fair and balanced,” it would make Bill O’Reilly blush.

He begins his analysis with the (probably valid) assessment that “[ESPN’s] not going to have good games tonight.” Fair enough. The Patriots and Chargers are both heavily favored against their respective opponents, the Bills and Raiders, who are expected to be among the AFC’s worst teams. One would expect, then, that he would not have much to say about either game, right? Let me pause for a moment and remind you of the following fact: Peter King is a HUGE Patriots fan. Although you probably picked up on that if you read down to the next paragraph. Or the next one. Or the one after that. Or the chart comparing this year’s Patriots’ defense to that of the ’08 team. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy reading His Majesty’s columns, and much of what he has to say in this section is interesting to me as a fellow Patriots fan. I just feel bad for any of his readers out there who are Chargers fans. Their team only gets two dismissive sentences dedicated to it—one of which states that Richard Seymour, the long-time New England defensive lineman who was recently traded to Oakland, is the only “reason to tune in”!

To be fair, His Majesty does not make the lofty claims of objectivity that certain network news channels do—still, it would be nice if he made a little more of an effort to cover up his biases.

Update: Both Monday Night games came down to the final seconds—and ended with the favored team, led by its star quarterback, putting together a game-winning drive. Not surprisingly, King’s article this morning is all about the Patriots and Tom Brady’s triumphant return. He does not even mention the Chargers or anything to do with the second game. Hmmmm…

King Says, Benji Says (Week 1)

September 12, 2009

WhatDoBenjiMichaelVickAndPeterKingsMakeUpGuyAllHaveInCommon

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana

Rephrased, a pseudo sportswriter who makes brash, overly presumptive judgments about NFL teams before the season even begins risks suffering the same fate he did last year—when he finished seven picks behind Peter King and a whopping eleven picks behind Brian. I would love to say that I have taken these words to heart, but, as my premature obituary for the Titans before Thursday’s game might suggest, I need to proceed cautiously. Remember, after all, what His Majesty and I had to say about the Falcons (who finished the season at 11-5) before they played the Lions (who ended up going 0-16) in Week One last year:

Detroit Lions (0-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-0)

King says:

I don’t remember a rookie coach, starting a rookie quarterback with a rookie left tackle, faring too well in the opener. Maybe that’s just me.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 20, Atlanta Falcons 6

Benji says:

What an eerie coincidence that King chose the most obvious pick of the 1:00 games as his first Sunday prediction. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and agree with you, Mr. King. The Falcons are probably going to struggle with a rookie coach, a rookie quarterback and a rookie blind side tackle. As much as I loathe the idea of picking the Lions to win on the road, this match-up leaves me with no choice but to do so.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 24, Atlanta Falcons 6

We all know how that one turned out…the point is, when trying to analyze a league defined by its parity and yearly turnover, the only thing King and I know for certain heading into the season is that everything we think we know is far more uncertain than either of us would like to admit. Anyway, now that I have that rant/drawn-out caveat out of the way, let’s make some picks:

Thursday Night:

Benji (1-0) (barely!)

Peter King (1-0)

Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-0)

King Says:

My first upset of the year, albeit a mild one. Falcs are still juggling a new secondary (get ready for lots of Chad Pennington throws over your head, Brent Grimes), and Matt Ryan’s going to be chased all over the Georgia Dome by one of the top five front sevens in football.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 29, Atlanta Falcons 24

Benji Says:

If there’s one thing I do know for certain, Your Majesty, it’s that the weak-armed Chad Pennington is not the type of quarterback who will take advantage of shaky defenses by throwing deep passes over their cornerbacks. That being said, I see this game as a toss-up. I think that both of these teams overachieved last season and I do not see either of them making it back to the playoffs again. I’ll take Atlanta here, because it’s playing at home, but I wouldn’t bet any money on that outcome.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 20, Miami Dolphins 17

Denver Broncos (0-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-0)

King Says:

No teams has a bigger game in Week 1 than Cincinnati. The Bengals, if they’re to have a prayer to compete for the Wild Card in the AFC, have to beat a nascent Denver team at home, with the Broncos still semi-reeling from a very strange offseason. Carson Palmer simply has to hit the ground running against a bottom-quartile defense.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 27, Denver Broncos 17

Benji Says:

The Broncos’ defense finished 30th in points allowed last year and the team did not do enough to address its defensive deficiencies during the off-season. With a healthy Carson Palmer and Chad Ocho Cinco, I also believe that the Bengals can put some points on the board in this game. It certainly does not help Denver’s case that replacement quarterback Kyle Orton, whose ability to be a successful quarterback is entirely dependent on his accuracy, has an injured finger on his throwing hand.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 30, Denver Broncos 17

Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0)

King Says:

America, meet Percy Harvin. At some point at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Harvin’s going to run a reverse or Wildcat-sprint up the gut or catch a deep 9-route from Brett Favre. But I guarantee you the 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year will have an impact on this game, and on many others this year.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 33, Cleveland Browns 13

Benji Says:

I know, it’s Week One, and I should not make hasty judgments about teams without watching them play…but the Browns are really bad. Neither of their quarterbacks (Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn) was able to wrest the job away from the other as both failed to impress in the preseason. Enjoy feasting on your early cupcake schedule, Favre…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Cleveland Browns 13

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

King Says:

Margins of victory in the past five Jags-Colts games in Indianapolis: 2, 3, 7, 7 and 3 points. The first post-Marvin Harrison game in Indy is sure to feature eight or 10 catches from Peyton Manning’s targets of the future — Anthony Gonzalez, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon. You’ll enjoy getting to know Garcon, the 2007 sixth-rounder from mighty Mount Union who opens as the fourth wideout. He’s a quick, tough ping-pong-ball of a receiver who can hold onto it in traffic.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Benji Says:

This game is shaping up to be the best of the early match-ups. Jacksonville is my pick to be this year’s surprise playoff team. All the Jaguars were missing last year was a healthy offensive line—and a receiver who can catch an accurately thrown ball. With both of those problems solved, I would not be surprised to see them steal a win here. This game could go either way, but in a toss-up, I’ll take the home team…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

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

King Says:

A nice, representative, two-touchdown game from Matthew Stafford in his NFL debut. And it’s more of a game than it probably should be, because the Saints’ running game enters the season hobbling. But New Orleans is going to score in the thirties 10 or 12 times this year, so this is just an average day.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 33, Detroit Lions 20

Benji Says:

This game, like seemingly every one that New Orleans has played over the last three years, will probably be a high-scoring affair. The Saints cannot play defense but their offense seems to improve every year. If nothing else, they’ll be fun to watch this year—and their defensive shortcomings will make some bad teams that they play fun to watch in the process. I guess everybody wins?

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 38, Detroit Lions 27

Dallas Cowboys (0-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)

King Says:

I’m shocked too to see the Bucs put up 27 on anyone, given Byron Leftwich is a statue and they’re still adjusting to the new way of offensive play-calling, with Greg Olson (passing game) and Pete Mangurian (run game) running the show. But Leftwich gets outdueled at the end by Tony Romo, who’s out to prove he’s not the old Romo.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27

Benji Says:

I may be alone in this belief, but I do not think that the Tampa Bay offense is going to be that bad this year. The Buccaneers upgraded their quarterback (even if Leftwich is a bit immobile) and have three legitimate running backs. Why should I take Dallas seriously? It had serious problems at the end of last season on both ends of the ball, and say what you will about Terrell Owens—every team that he leaves gets worse the next season.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28, Dallas Cowboys 24

Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-0)

King Says:

NFL receiving leader after one week: Brent Celek — 9 catches, 101 yards, one touchdown. Donovan McNabb and Celek are going to make beautiful music together this year.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 23, Carolina Panthers 20

Benji Says:

The Panthers have a serious problem in the form of quarterback Jake Delhomme. A team with as dominant a running game as the Panthers have does not need a risk-taking passer who is not capable of making the same throws he could during his prime. If any team was going to make a deal for Matt Cassel during the off-season, it should have been them…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 26, Carolina Panthers 20

Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-0)

King Says:

Crabcakeville is about the worst place a Chiefs team with one of the league’s weakest offensive lines can open. Baltimore gets Kelly Gregg, an invaluable defensive tackle, back from injury to buttress the Haloti Ngata-led front, and I think they’ll overwhelm the patchwork Kansas City line. I know Todd Haley’s not thinking about shelving Matt Cassel so he can make his Chiefs debut against a friendlier Raider D at home in Week 2, but I also know if Cassel’s less than 90 percent with his gimpy knee, there’s no sense of him risking a beating just to prove he’s a gutsy guy.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 33, Kansas City Chiefs 9

Benji Says:

Matt Cassel, if you’re reading this, here’s a piece of advice: sit this one out and get healthy. Is it bad that I am in complete agreement with His Majesty here?

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 33, Kansas City Chiefs 9

New York Jets (0-0) at Houston Texans (0-0)

King Says:

Everyone will tune in to see Mark Sanchez’s rookie debut, but it’ll be a dud. This is not his game, not with Mario Williams steaming around end; this is a day for the Jets’ run game, because Houston’s run defense is anemic. On the other side, Matt Schaub has to wrap that sprained ankle tight enough and make enough plays to survive a tough opening game.

Prediction: Houston Texans 19, New York Jets 17

Benji Says:

I need to tread carefully after what I wrote last year about Matt Ryan’s rookie debut, but I still think that King is in the right here. A rookie quarterback making his debut on the road is probably not going to be very successful…I feel safe saying that, because the Texans are definitely not last year’s Lions.

Prediction: Houston Texans 27, New York Jets 16

Washington Redskins (0-0) at New York Giants (0-0)

King Says:

Clinton Portis, unexpectedly, runs wild, but Brandon Jacobs runs wilder, winning it when Tom Coughlin puts the game on his back in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: New York Giants 23, Washington Redskins 21

Benji Says:

I don’t think I’ve ever liked a team I picked to make the playoffs less than I like this year’s Giants. Who is Eli Manning going to throw to? What if Brandon Jacobs gets hurt? What if their defense regresses? I like the Redskins even less, however…

Prediction: New York Giants 20, Washington Redskins 16

San Francisco 49ers (0-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-0)

King Says:

Somewhere, Michael Crabtree is smiling.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 17, San Francisco 49ers 6

Benji Says:

Does Crabtree have the early advantage over Tony Romo for “leading the league in smiles,” Your Majesty? As for this game, since one of us should probably spend a little bit of time talking about it, I like the Cardinals. They have so many weapons on offense and should be able to beat the ‘9ers without too much trouble. Still, I think you give a little bit too much credit to the Arizona defense—that unit barely finished ahead of Denver in points allowed last season.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 30, San Francisco 49ers 23

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

King Says:

The rebirth of the Seahawks begins. Steve Spagnuolo finds out just how much work he has in front of him, though he does get a nice piece of salmon out of the trip at his pregame meal.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 29, St. Louis Rams 6

Benji Says:

I was totally ready to jump on the Seahawks’ bandwagon this year—until I realized said bandwagon was being driven by a past-his-prime, injury-prone Matt Hasselbeck. It’s okay, though, they should look great against the Rams, which will completely validate your point, Your Majesty…

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 26, St. Louis Rams 17

Chicago Bears (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0)

King Says:

For all the pregame hubbub about the quarterbacks, I say the biggest factor in this game is the Packers front in the new 3-4 scheme — specifically 900 pounds of the three rotating ends on early downs, Culllen Jenkins, Johnny Jolly and B.J. Raji. I think the Packers will chase Jay Cutler all over Lambeau, too.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 23, Chicago Bears 16

Benji Says:

Both of these teams should be pretty good, but I am not as convinced of Green Bay’s defensive prowess as King is. Get used to hearing quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler mentioned in the same sentence—this rivalry begins on Sunday night and should last for the better part of the next decade, health permitting. I’ll take the Packers here, because I think Rodgers has a better supporting cast on offense. Don’t be surprised, however, if Cutler’s arrival helps Devin Hester develop into a legitimate number one receiver.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 26, Chicago Bears 20

Buffalo Bills (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)

King Says:

Gametime is 7:10. I predict by 7:33, after Jarvis Green’s second sack of the night, the Gillette crowd starts chanting, “Rich-ard Who?” On the visitors’ side, I have some progress to report. The Bills scored three points on 15 first-team offensive possessions in the preseason. They get six on 12 possessions in this one. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get to hear Terrell Owens give us more enlightening opinions detailing his feelings about the no-huddle offense. Tell us more, Mr. Offense!

Prediction: New England Patriots 31, Buffalo Bills 6

Benji Says:

Was this game chosen as the first Monday Night match-up just to make Brady look good in his return to the national stage? I’m a Patriots fan, and I’m still a little suspicious…

Prediction: New England Patriots 35, Buffalo Bills 6

San Diego Chargers (0-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-0)

King Says:

One piece of advice for all you Fantasy wonks out there: If you’ve got LaDainian Tomlinson, and you’re down by 30 points entering the Monday night games, get the victory cigar ready. Three things are in LT’s favor in this one: Norv Turner is determined to re-establish him as the centerpiece of the San Diego offense, Tomlinson wants to stick it to every naysayer who thinks, at 30, he’s should apply for AARP membership, and seeing Silver and Black is Tomlinson’s personal fountain of youth.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 37, Oakland Raiders 13

Benji Says:

Echoing my sentiments from my last pick, was this game chosen as an opening Monday Night Football game just to make the Chargers, and specifically LaDanian Tomlinson, look good? I get it already—the Chargers and the Patriots are the best teams in the AFC. I don’t need a view that I already hold to be artificially reinforced by watching them play against abysmal teams.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 35, Oakland Raiders 13

King Says, Benji Says (Thursday Kick-Off Edition)

September 10, 2009

KingIsTheWilliamsToMyMiddlebury

All right, the second honeymoon is definitely over—the NFL season has yet to begin and His Majesty is already blowing me off so as to spend more time pontificating to the masses. He’s so confident that he can beat me again in our picking war that he refuses to acknowledge to the media that our rivalry even exists! Well, as some of you may have heard, the season begins tonight in Pittsburgh, which gives King Doofus his first chance to put his money where his mouth is…assuming his mouth is not stuffed full of pork rinds or whatever else they serve at those NBC catered buffets.

Tennessee Titans (0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0)

King Says:

Good line from Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger to me the other day. “I’ve been watching tape all day, looking for first downs,” Heimerdinger said. “Can’t find any.” Well, here’s your chance: Give the ball to Chris Johnson (2008 per-carry average: 4.9 yards) early and often. Don’t look for the Titans to go soft upfront even with the loss of Albert Haynesworth; I think they’ll still be a good wall. What the Steelers will have to do is rely on Ben Roethlisberger throwing the ball downfield in the second half. Big Ben will do it just enough, in a game befitting the national stage.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Tennessee Titans 13

Benji says:

Your Majesty, how can you possibly expect your quote from the Titans’ offensive coordinator about the futility of the team’s offense, even if it is “tongue-in-cheek,” to instill in your readers the belief that the Titans can generate enough points to make this a game “befitting the national stage?” Tennessee had a great season last year, but, as you called attention to, it lost its best defensive player (Albert Haynseworth) and is relying heavily upon a below average quarterback on the eve of his 37th birthday to lead an offense that only generated 12 passing touchdowns last year. Chris Johnson better be as good or better than he was in his stellar rookie season, because the running game is the best thing this team has going for it. I see Tennessee struggling against the defending Super Bowl champs, because Pittsburgh has the better, more balanced team and consistently gets a pretty big home-field advantage out of the Heinz Field crowd.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Tennessee Titans 9

King Says, Benji Says (2009 Predictions)

September 9, 2009

YeahKingAndIAreThatCool

After a much needed “separation period,” Peteypoo and I have reconciled our differences and are ready once again to match wits at picking football games. What brought us back together? I believe it was the common ground we found in our new, shared philosophy on life: less is more. I now eat less food, but consume a more nutritious diet; The King has decided to spend less time at the buffet table and more time modeling his new sunglasses; finally, we both decided to use less space on our preseason predictions so as to retain more credibility later in the season when we inevitably end up being completely wrong and all you naysayers out there have less faulty analytical material to work with. I’ll admit that King took this last point to the extreme (he failed to write a single sentence in support of his picks), but, hey, no relationship’s perfect. At least he predicted each team’s record, right? As our marriage counselor would probably say, “he’s making an effort.”

AFC Picks:

AFC East:

King says:

Prediction: New England (13-3)

Benji says:

Let’s face it—the Dolphins overachieved last year and the Jets (starting a rookie quarterback) and Bills (who should have looked for a quarterback in the draft) are not going anywhere anytime soon. The Patriots will win the division easily and I would be surprised if they lost a single game to any of their aforementioned divisional foes.

Prediction: New England (13-3)

AFC North:

King says:

Prediction: Pittsburgh (11-5)

Benji says:

In my opinion, the Steelers had a lot of things go their way last season. That’s not to say that they weren’t a talented and disciplined team—I just don’t think they have what it takes to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Eventually a reckless throw that Roethlisberger makes on the run is going to result in a turnover, right? Right?!?

Prediction: Pittsburgh (11-5)

AFC South:

King says:

Prediction: Houston (10-6)

Benji says:

This division will end up being the most competitive one in the AFC. I’ll take the Colts, because they have experience and the division’s best defense on their side. Jacksonville and Houston will be hot on Indy’s heels though…

Prediction: Indianapolis (10-6)

AFC West:

King says:

Prediction: San Diego (11-5)

Benji says:

This one’s a no-brainer—the Chargers have a huge talent advantage over the rest of the AFC West. Like the Patriots, they are likely to go undefeated within their division and stack their overall record.

Prediction: San Diego (14-2)

Wildcard teams:

King says:

Prediction: Baltimore (9-7), Indianapolis (10-6)

Benji says:

Houston will come close to making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history but will ultimately be beaten out by a revived Jaguars team. David Garrard was one of the most accurate passers in the league last season but did not have a single receiver who could catch the ball. New acquisition Tory Holt, while not the offensive force he was five years ago, has great hands and is a disciplined route runner. The Ravens have a hard-hitting defense, a solid running game and a quarterback that can make accurate downfield throws—they’ll be tough to beat.

Prediction: Jacksonville (10-6), Baltimore (10-6)

NFC Picks:

NFC East:

King says:

Prediction: New York Giants (12-4)

Benji says:

With Brian Westbrook and second receiver Kevin Curtis nursed back to health, the Eagles look to me like an offensive juggernaut. No other team in this division can match up with them defensively, provided everyone stays healthy.

Prediction: Philadelphia (12-4)

NFC North:

King says:

Prediction: Chicago (11-5)

Benji says:

With all of their defensive players and running back Ryan Grant back healthy, the Packers look like the team to beat in this division. Forget all of the hype about Favre and the Vikings—they’ll start off hot with an easy warm-weather schedule, but they’ll ultimately fade down the stretch.

Prediction: Green Bay (13-3)

NFC South:

King says:

Prediction: Atlanta (10-6)

Benji says:

The Falcons got by with a strong offense and an atrocious defense last year, but as the Saints proved, that formula never works in consecutive seasons. The Panthers have not been successful in back-to-back years in recent memory. That leaves the Buccaneers and the Saints. By process of elimination, I’ll take New Orleans but its defense is still going to be shaky. Tampa, after upgrading its quarterback (Byron Leftwich) and running game (Derrick Ward), will be much better than people think it will be, and may make a push for the division title.

Prediction: New Orleans (9-7)

NFC West:

King says:

Prediction: Seattle (9-7)

Benji says:

The Arizona Cardinals’ offense really came into its own during last year’s playoffs and I truly believe that if Kurt Warner stays healthy, this team will run away with the division. That’s a big if though…if Warner goes down, look for Seattle to sneak into the playoffs instead at 8-8.

Prediction: Arizona (10-6)

Wildcard teams:

King says:

Prediction: Minnesota (10-6), Green Bay (10-6)

Benji says:

Now that the Bears finally have a real quarterback (Jay Cutler), they should be a tough team to beat if their defense returns to form. I am still a bit worried about the quality of their receiving corps, though. As for the other wildcard spot, I chose the Giants but I don’t feel very good about this pick. At some point, they need to find a deep threat at wide receiver or teams will just stack the line to stop their running game.

Prediction: New York Giants (9-7), Chicago Bears (10-6)

Playoff Predictions:

Wildcard Round:

King says:

AFC:

Steelers 20, Ravens 17

Colts 26, Texans 13

NFC:

Vikings 30, Seahawks 17

Packers 23, Falcons 20

Benji says:

AFC:

Jaguars 20, Steelers 17

Ravens 19, Colts 16

NFC:

Cardinals 30, Giants 24

Saints 28, Bears 24

Divisional Round:

King says:

AFC:

Patriots 23, Colts 17

Chargers 17, Steelers 16

NFC:

Packers 20, Giants 17

Bears 27, Vikings 25

Benji says:

AFC:

Patriots 23, Ravens 17

Chargers 24, Jaguars 20

NFC:

Eagles 38, Cardinals 31

Packers 30, Saints 24

Championship Round:

King says:

AFC:

Patriots 27, Chargers 20

NFC:

Bears 16, Packers 13

Benji says:

AFC:

Patriots 27, Chargers 24

NFC:

Eagles 26, Packers 20

Super Bowl XLIV:

King says:

Patriots 30, Bears 27

Benji says:

Patriots 29, Eagles 26

Brian Makes His Picks and Vegas Looks on…

September 8, 2009

AContestToSeeWhoCanLookLikeMoreOfATool

Well, as promised, here goes with my predictions for this year. Before I begin, let me give you my three rules (more like guidelines really) for predicting an NFL season.

1) Every year, there are a handful of teams that make the playoffs that didn’t make it the year before.

2) One of those teams will come out of nowhere (i.e. the Falcons last year)

3) Some teams that looked like they were emerging last year will drop off this season because they have a tougher schedule.

NFC Predictions:

NFC West:

Seattle (Division Winner) lost a bunch of games to injuries, which is unlikely to happen again. The Seahawks also acquired T.J. Who’syourmama to give Hasselbeck a decent target. I think they take the division.

Arizona is a streaky team that got lucky right in time for the playoffs. I watched the 49ers hang with the Cards in two games, so I was never that impressed with them.

I believe San Francisco is still a few years away. The 49ers didn’t do much to help their offense—they still have Shaun Hill at QB and Crabtree is going to be “T.O.-lite.”

St. Louis is still another year or two away from putting it all together.

NFC East:

I think this could be Washington’s (Division Winner) year—no science behind it, I just like the Redskins here.

I always think Philadelphia’s (Wildcard) going to do well.

I think the New York Giants will struggle while they try to figure out what to do. For some reason I think Manning will be okay—it’ll be the defense that holds them back.

As for Dallas, Romo can’t quite get it done, no matter who his new girlfriend is.

NFC North:

In King’s pick for the best division in the NFL, I think Green Bay (Division Winner), led by Rodgers, will have a great year.

Chicago (Wildcard) will have a very good year, but will only make the wildcard.

Minnesota will start off hot and fail down the stretch.

As for Detroit? I think the Lions will be bad…

NFC South:

I think Carolina (Division Winner) takes the division. The Panthers always seem to bounce back.

Atlanta will not make the playoffs

New Orleans will not make the playoffs either.

And Tampa Bay will finish last. I mean the Buccaneers don’t even have a quarterback.

AFC Predictions:

AFC West:

I’ll also go with the trendy pick, San Diego (Division Winner), but I’m a little concerned about Merriman doing his “Lights Out” after a night of Tequila.

Denver will be the second best team. I am just throwing it out there…

Kansas City will be third.

Oakland will be 10,535th.

AFC East:

New England (Division Winner) will win the division. I hate writing that…

Miami will place second.

The New York Jets will be third, but Sanchez will be dirty.

As for Buffalo— the T.O. Show will be the only exciting thing to come out of this team.

AFC South:

I’m taking Indianapolis (Division Winner), because the Colts will always be better than everyone else.

Houston (Wildcard) will have a good year, finally, because that’s what every other pundit says. I do not disagree.

Jacksonville will begin to recover from injuries and crappy wide receiver syndrome.

Tennessee will…start Vince Young this year.

AFC North:

Pittsburgh (Division Winner) will win the division.

Baltimore (Wildcard) will sneak into the playoffs. The Ravens seem like a team that could put it all together if they can make it in…

Cincinnati will have a decent year, but wont break .500.

Cleveland will stink.

Playoff Predictions:

NFC:

Wildcard:

Philadelphia over Chicago

Washington over Seattle

Divisional Round:

Washington over Philadelphia

Green Bay over Chicago

Championship Round:

Green Bay over Washington

AFC:

Wildcard:

Houston over New England

Baltimore over Miami

Divisional Round:

Baltimore over Pittsburgh

San Diego over Houston

Championship Round:

Baltimore over San Diego

Super Bowl Pick:

Baltimore over Green Bay

Welcome BAAAACK!

September 4, 2009

WhenKingPicksHeMeansBusiness

Before we jump right into it with Benji’s and my predictions for the upcoming season, let’s first tackle a question posted by one of our readers in regard to King’s preseason Super Bowl picks.

Eric writes:

After just hearing on PTI King’s absurd prediction that the Chicago Bears will be in the Super Bowl this year, I was wondering, just what is his record of preseason predictions for the Super Bowl? I wouldn’t be surprised if he had never correctly predicted a team.

I headed to the vault and tracked down King’s preseason picks for the past five seasons: (Note that the year marks when King made his picks. Thus, his 2008 prediction was for the 2009 Super Bowl and so on…)

2008

King: Patriots over Cowboys

Actual: Steelers over Cardinals

2007

King: Colts over Saints

Actual: Giants over Patriots

2006

King: Cowboys over Colts

Actual: Colts over Bears

2005

King: Patriots over Vikings

Actual: Steelers over Seahawks

2004

King: Broncos over Seahawks

Actual: Patriots over Eagles

During this time span, King picked one Super Bowl entrant correctly out of ten (Indy in 2006) but he did not predict that the Colts would win. That’s actually better than I thought he would do, but then again, I picked the Eagles and Steelers to make the Super Bowl last year and almost nailed it on the head, so there… *sticks tongue out*

Editor’s Note: To be fair, His Majesty and I (Benji) picked equally poorly last year—I had Green Bay and Indianapolis making it to the Super Bowl. Out of our four projected championship entrants, only the Colts even made the playoffs (and they lost in the first round).