King Says, Benji Says (Week 5)



Different week, same story: King solidified his hold on the throne, I remained the upstart prince and Brian continued to play the role of court jester (and I mean that in the least Shakespearean way possible). I believe that His Majesty has become just a bit too comfortable at the top, however. He has put on weight, bought himself a new decadent wardrobe and seems to have let down his guard a bit. I’m still lurking (three picks back) and if he isn’t careful, he may soon be ousted from his new super cushiony throne chair…

Last Week:

Peter King (11-3)

Benji (10-4)

Brian (8-6)


Peter King (45-17)

Benji (42-20)

Brian (35-27)

Cleveland Browns (0-4) at Buffalo Bills (1-3)

King Says:

I’ve been asked 64 times via e-mail, Twitter and one funny talk-show rant how I can possibly still have faith in Trent Edwards as Buffalo’s (or anyone’s) quarterback of the future. I have two answers. One: I watched the first Monday night game of the season, when Trent Edwards hit his receivers in stride, stood up to a hostile crowd and Patriot pressure and had his team up by 11 points with six minutes to play. Once you see enough perfectly thrown balls and coolly executed drives, you tend to want to give a guy chances to do it again. Two: This is his second starting season. With quarterbacks, assuming they work hard and have the requisite talent, patience is a virtue. All the young ones can’t be Ryan and Flacco.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 20, Cleveland Browns 17

Benji Says:

King, how many “perfectly thrown” passes have you seen Edwards complete since Week One or even in the fourth quarter of that game? And how patient are you asking me to be with Edwards? How long before I can safely criticize him? This is his third year as a starter and he has not improved—with better receivers (the addition of Terrell Owens), he has actually regressed. That being said, I like the Bills’ stellar running backs (Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch) to run all over the Browns’ second-to-last-ranked rushing defense.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 23, Cleveland Browns 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at Detroit Lions (1-3)

King Says:

Steelers return to the scene of their One For The Thumb Super Bowl victory over Seattle. Ben Roethlisberger got a ring that day, but I remember how downcast he was in the locker room postgame because he’d played so poorly. Nothing’s forever, kid. Cris Collinsworth had it right on NBC Sunday night: Roethlisberger’s so confident in the pocket, and moves so effortlessly to avoid pressure. He’s really matured into a great player.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Detroit Lions 17

Benji Says:

Roethlisberger’s “greatness” seems sort of irrelevant in this match-up—any team and any quarterback can throw on the Lions’ defense, which is allowing over 30 points a game this season.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Detroit Lions 13

Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-4)

King Says:

The Cowboys are averaging 24 points and 401 yards, ranked 12th and fourth in the league, respectively. All is not lost on offense, despite the braying and moaning heard from Cowboy Nation. The problem? Third downs. They’re converting one of every three, on average. That’s what the Rams are doing too, and it’s got to change for Dallas to be the offensive team it thinks it should be.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 26, Kansas City Chiefs 16

Benji Says:

The real problem with the Cowboys is that Tony Romo has completely regressed as a quarterback. He is not seeing the field well and keeps making mistakes whenever he is pressured. The Chiefs’ defense isn’t very good, though…

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 23, Kansas City Chiefs 20

Minnesota Vikings (4-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-4)

King Says:

It just occurred to me that the slate of eight early games Sunday is quite possible the worst set of early games in NFL history. Except maybe for Bengals-Ravens, what game has any feel of importance?

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 31, St. Louis Rams 6

Benji Says:

King, the all-knowing football sage that he is, astutely points out what no one else in the sports media (cue ten seconds of sarcastic cackling) has brought up at all over the last week. I’m not disputing your point about this week’s match-ups being terrible, Your Majesty—all I’m saying is I highly doubt it “just occurred” to you.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, St. Louis Rams 17

Oakland Raiders (1-3) at New York Giants (4-0)

King Says:

I say the Giants win even if David Carr plays, which I doubt will happen. You can live with plantar fasciitis, and Eli Manning, I believe, will struggle through it for a few weeks… By the way, doesn’t it feel like the Giants are on the JV portion of their schedule (Bucs, Chiefs, Raiders)? That ends in New Orleans next week.

Prediction: New York Giants 36, Oakland Raiders 12

Benji Says:

I’m going to go out on a limb here, Your Majesty, and agree with you. The Raiders will definitely not beat the Giants. I will go even further out on said limb and say that I do not expect them to win another game until they finally bench historically inept quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

Prediction: New York Giants 26, Oakland Raiders 10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

King Says:

I only know one thing about this game, other than the outcome: Michael Vick is going to get a lot more action than 11 insignificant plays.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Benji Says:

Two players that are integral to the Eagles’ success this season (quarterback Donovan McNabb and tailback Brian Westbrook) return this week, but, in his own words, His Majesty “only [knows] one thing about this game,” and it of course involves Michael Vick’s limited (but apparently expanding?) role in the offense. Like a good media member, he loves an easy (and over-covered) story…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Washington Redskins (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (0-3)

King Says:

The Panther mantra has to be this: We’re 0-3, but in 17 days we should be 3-3. Carolina has ‘Skins at home, travels to Tampa, then comes home to face Buffalo. If Panthers survive this game, which will be the toughest, this stretch will be as much a get-well card as it is a schedule.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 19, Washington Redskins 13

Benji Says:

Picking the Panthers to win this game, with one of the worst quarterbacks in the league leading their offense, is not so much an endorsement of them as it is a denigration of the Redskins, who in the last two weeks lost and almost lost to the Lions and Rams, respectively.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 20, Washington Redskins 17

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

King Says:

The key to this game might actually be whether the Ravens can find, isolate and block defensive lineman Antwan Odom, who is outside on run downs and an inside rusher on passing downs. I have a lot of respect for what Odom has been able to do — be a difference-maker on a line that has long needed one.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 30, Cincinnati Bengals 23

Benji Says:

The Bengals’ defense is much improved this season, but as of yet, I have been unimpressed with quarterback Carson Palmer. In order to beat the Ravens, Cincinnati will need Palmer to play a far better game than any he has had thus far this fall. I’ll believe it when I see it…

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 20, Cincinnati Bengals 17

New England Patriots (3-1) at Denver Broncos (4-0)

King Says:

I fully expect Elvis Dumervil to introduce himself to Tom Brady, forcefully, twice at Invesco. But that won’t be enough. Brady’s rounding into form, and not even the football person who knows him second-best in the world (Josh McDaniels; Bill Belichick would have to be number one) will be able to stop him.

Prediction: New England Patriots 23, Denver Broncos 17

Benji Says:

If Brady is truly “rounding into form” (and I agree with King on this point) then the Broncos are in some serious trouble. Their defense is much better than last year’s but has been given way too much credit thus far. On Sunday, Denver will face a bona fide NFL-level offense for the first time this season, and it’s not going to be pretty. Expect a similar score-line to that of last year’s match-up between these two teams…

Prediction: New England Patriots 38, Denver Broncos 9

Houston Texans (2-2) at Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

King Says:

This is more about liking Houston than not liking Arizona. Even though the game’s in Arizona, I like Matt Schaub to come up with four or five clock-eating, productive long drives to keep Kurt Warner on the sidelines.

Prediction: Houston Texans 23, Arizona Cardinals 21

Benji Says:

Both of these teams have great passing games and terrible pass defenses—in other words, this may end up being the most exciting game of the afternoon if you like offensive football. I like the Cardinals because they are playing at home and have the more reliable quarterback (Kurt Warner).

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 33, Houston Texans 26

Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1)

King Says:

I have only one regret about my awards for the first quarter of the season — that Mike Singletary didn’t make it to the list of top three coaches. (I picked McDaniels, Ryan and Childress, the latter because he went out on a limb and dragged Brett Favre back into football, which, right now, looks like a genius move.) Michael Crabtree will fit right into this new culture Singletary has created, not ruin it.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 20, Atlanta Falcons 16

Benji Says:

Michael Crabtree may fit into the “new culture” in San Francisco, but until he learns the playbook, the 49ers are still without any playmakers among their wide receivers. A strong defense and a running game led by your back-up tailback can only take you so far—I see the Falcons, coming off of their bye week, making some big plays in the passing game and forcing San Francisco to play from behind, something it is not currently built to do.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 26, San Francisco 49ers 17

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) at Seattle Seahawks (1-3)

King Says:

Matt Hasselbeck. Clean up on aisle five. Matt Hasselbeck.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 30, Jacksonville Jaguars 24

Benji Says:

Thank God, Matt Hasselbeck is back—his triumphant return should solve all of the Seahawks’ problems. He might actually make some plays against a shaky Jacksonville defense but don’t be fooled by King’s inexplicable love for him: he’s no longer an effective NFL quarterback. On the other hand, the Jaguars’ quarterback, David Garrard, now that he has a pair of receivers (Tory Holt and Mike Simms-Walker) who can actually catch the ball, is very capable of producing points against a flawed team like Seattle.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 33, Seattle Seahawks 23

Indianapolis Colts (4-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-4)

King Says:

Late in the third quarter, much to his chagrin, Jeff Fisher can ignore five winless weeks no longer. He taps Vince Young on the shoulder and says: “See what you can do in there, kid.”

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 31, Tennessee Titans 16

Benji Says:

This is the week that His Majesty and I finally kick our “Jeff Fisher habit” and come to the logical conclusion that the Titans just aren’t that good…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 31, Tennessee Titans 16

New York Jets (3-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-3)

King Says:

Another MNF winner for ESPN. If I’m Miami defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, I’m throwing the kitchen sink — and new sack sensation Cameron Wake — at the Sanchize early and often.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 20, New York Jets 17

Benji Says:

Somebody (meaning probably Brian and I since both of us have nothing better to do with our free time) really needs to compile a list of all the stupid nicknames that King comes up with for young quarterbacks. As for this game, I also think that it will be close. Miami is a far better team than its 1-3 record would indicate. That being said, the Jets’ defense is bound to force new quarterback Chad Henne into a couple of mistakes. The “Sanchize” experienced some growing pains last week against New Orleans, but this week it’s Henne’s turn…

Prediction: New York Jets 16, Miami Dolphins 13


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