King Says, Benji Says (Week 3)

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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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