King Says, Benji Says (Week 2)



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


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