King Says, Benji Says (Week 6)



Now that I’ve had a few days to deal with the shock and fall-out from His Majesty’s Monday night comeback (courtesy of the emergence of Miami quarterback Chad Henne), it’s time for me to quit moping. Benjis don’t get mad—they get even! Brian continues to flounder and, thus, I am our only chance at defeating the evil King, rescuing the princess and escaping the castle through the secret passageway. Hmmm, somewhere along the line I think our football-picking “quest” turned into a Legend of Zelda knock-off?

Last Week:

Peter King (9-5)

Benji (9-5)

Brian (8-6)


Peter King (54-22)

Benji (51-25)

Brian (43-33)

Houston Texans (2-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)

King Says:

Relayed this on Sunday night on NBC: When I was finishing up on the phone with Marvin Lewis the other day, I congratulated him and he said, “We’re just trying to get on one of your games.” An NBC Sunday-nighter, he meant. OK. Weeks 11 through 17 are flex scheduling on NBC. Let’s see when you might fit in, coach.

Week 11: at Oakland. No dice.

Week 12: Cleveland. Nope.

Week 13: Detroit. Geez! What is this, the Giants’ schedule?

Week 14: at Minnesota. Bingo. Hold on. NBC has dibs on Eagles-Giants that week. Can’t see them switching out of two top-10 TV markets for anything.

Week 15: at San Diego. Very interesting. NBC has Vikings-Panthers, which is compelling only because it’s Favre.

Week 16: Kansas City. Nah.

Week 17: at the New York Football Jets. Another bingo.

So you see it here first: If the Bengals keep winning, they might invade your TV sets for a Sunday-nighter Dec. 20 in San Diego or Jan. 3 at the frosty Meadowlands. Maybe both.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 26, Houston Texans 24

Benji Says:

Way to waste half a page (in a standard-sized Word document) speculating about the Bengals’ chances of making it into a Sunday Night game two months from now, Your Majesty. I’ve seen you go off on random tangents in our picking war many times, but never before have I seen you break the 150-word barrier without providing a single insight into the outcome of the game at hand. Congratulations! As for my thoughts on this game? Both teams have been involved in multiple close games this season—the difference, though, is that the Bengals (the fluke touchdown “pass” against Denver in Week One being the lone exception) have been at their best with the game on the line. Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer’s overall stats do not look good (he seemingly throws a pick-six once a game) but he has come through at the end of games, while his Houston counterpart Matt Schaub has not.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 20, Houston Texans 17

Detroit Lions (1-4) at Green Bay Packers (2-2)

King Says:

Mike McCarthy approaches Aaron Rodgers on the field before the game. Notices drool on the facemask. Asks what’s wrong. “Nothing,” Rodgers says, grinning widely. “You seen the Lions’ pass-defense?” McCarthy nods. League-worst 73.5 percent opponent completion rate. Five games, 15 touchdown passes allowed. Lambeau will be filled with footballs Sunday.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 29, Detroit Lions 17

Benji Says:

I never fancied Aaron Rodgers as a “drooler,” but what do I know? The way that his defense has played so far this season, the Lions’ coaches are probably salivating in anticipation as well. Luckily for Green Bay, both Detroit’s starting quarterback and star wide receiver (Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson) will likely be sitting this one out.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, Detroit Lions 17

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at Minnesota Vikings (5-0)

King Says:

Neither defensive coordinator goes home happy after this one, but rookie Ravens DC Greg Mattison has to be scratching his head about his guys. For goodness sake, the Seahawks have played stingier defense through five weeks.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Baltimore Ravens 23

Benji Says:

Your point about the Ravens’ defensive struggles is duly noted, Your Majesty, but I have to go with Baltimore here. The Vikings are by no means invincible (they nearly lost to the 49ers, who got blown out by the Falcons last week) and the Ravens need this game far more than their opponents do.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 30, Minnesota Vikings 23

New York Giants (5-0) at New Orleans Saints (4-0)

King Says:

I know the Giants have faced Lafayette, Colgate and Bucknell the past three weeks, but I say this weekend’s the coming-out party for their Kenny Phillips-less secondary. It’s not just the quality of opposition that’s responsible for Jints holding foes to 105 passing yards a week. Drew Brees will discover how good a corner Corey Webster is Sunday. Seems odd to call this an upset, if it happens.

Prediction: New York Giants 23, New Orleans Saints 13

Benji Says:

It won’t be much of an upset if the Giants win. I also don’t think that many people think it would be as both teams are undefeated—I feel as though you’re trying to create a fake storyline simply so you have something to disprove? All of that being said, I think that the Saints, who have been preparing for the Giants for two weeks (last week was their bye week) and play in one of the few remaining NFL stadiums that provides a home-field advantage, will find a way to win this one.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 30, New York Giants 23

Cleveland Browns (1-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)

King Says:

This is almost unfair. Troy Polamalu is likely to return from his Week 1 knee strain, and the Browns’ O is conjuring memories of the Providence Steamroller. He’ll make up, in part, for the big loss of defensive end Aaron Smith (rotator cuff surgery). But really, Smith’s loss is the kind that will be felt the rest of the year.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 33, Cleveland Browns 9

Benji Says:

The Steelers’ defense has not been the same unit from last year and losing a starting defensive end certainly does not help matters. I have a feeling that the Browns will make things much more interesting than they should be, if the 20 points that Pittsburgh allowed to the Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford-less Lions last weekend are any indication…

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Cleveland Browns 26

Carolina Panthers (1-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5)

King Says:

Let’s just say I have more faith in Jake Delhomme than everyone in the state of North Carolina does. I think Delhomme will have plenty of time to throw, and he’ll riddle the Bucs.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Benji Says:

Enough about Delhomme (who has still given me very little reason to trust him)—how about the Panthers’ struggles running the ball? They are only averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Carolina’s offensive line, which was spectacular last season, is underperforming and its defense (specifically highly paid pass-rusher Julius Peppers) has been merely average. This team just isn’t very good. It’s time to move past the memories of last year’s Panthers and accept that this year’s team, traveling to Tampa, should not be heavily favored on Sunday. In fact, I just flipped a coin and decided to pick the Buccaneers. They have to win a game sometime and they’ve shown signs of improvement over the last few weeks.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26, Carolina Panthers 23

Kansas City Chiefs (0-5) at Washington Redskins (2-3)

King Says:

I detailed the other day how it’s Week 6 and the Redskins haven’t faced a team with a win yet. (Meaning each team was winless the day they played ’em.) That changes in the next three outings, with Philadelphia, bye, Atlanta and Denver (combined 11-2) upcoming. Bye, however, is winless.

Prediction: Washington Redskins 16, Kansas City Chiefs 12

Benji Says:

The Redskins continue to disappoint against mediocre opponents. Is there any reason for me to expect more from them this week? The Chiefs almost posted their first win last Sunday against Dallas and seem to be developing some sort of offensive identity. As long as they don’t waste too many carries on the now-decrepit Larry Johnson, I like them to pick up their first win against the hapless ‘skins.

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 20, Washington Redskins 17

St. Louis Rams (0-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)

King Says:

I hear there are no tickets available. The Jags are tarping all the seats.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 27, St. Louis Rams 20

Benji Says:

Bad joke, bad game, poor use of space intended for insights into this match-up. I’ll let it  slide since I don’t want to talk about the Rams either…

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 35, St. Louis Rams 17

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-4)

King Says:

A buddy of mine Tweeted this week and asked if there was any hope for his Raiders. Told him I’d get back to him. Still haven’t. I don’t know what to say. What’s the stage beyond pathetic? The body language of JaMarcus Russell last week at Giants Stadium said to me, I wish I was anywhere but here.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 35, Oakland Raiders 10

Benji Says:

Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but…the Raiders aren’t going to improve until they finally bench JaMarcus Russell. End of story.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Oakland Raiders 10

Tennessee Titans (0-5) at New England Patriots (3-2)

King Says:

The Titans’ plane will be over West Virginia around 11 Sunday night, and Jeff Fisher will be on his third diet Coke, the reality of 0-6 sinking in, and he’ll say to himself: Makes no sense to keep head-butting the wall, with the bye coming up and Jacksonville and Buffalo at home in two of the next three. Time to play Vince Young full-time.

Prediction: New England Patriots 30, Tennessee Titans 13

Benji Says:

Hopefully Fisher has some Captain Morgan to go with that Diet Coke—he’s going to need a stiff drink after the Patriots put another shellacking on his team. What a surprise, right? The Patriots homers both predict that New England will win in a blowout…

Prediction: New England Patriots 30, Tennessee Titans 13

Buffalo Bills (1-4) at New York Jets (3-2)

King Says:

Short week. Home late Tuesday morning from Miami. Bitter loss Monday. Head coach not happy. Borderline miserable, in fact. If you’re the Jets’ next foe, you know you’re in for it. How convenient that it’s the Bills showing up at the Meadowlands, playing like refugees from Noah’s Ark.

Prediction: New York Jets 41, Buffalo Bills 6

Benji Says:

Your Noah’s Ark reference is almost really clever, Your Majesty, but I’m not sure it quite makes sense. How could a refugee from Noah’s Ark still be alive? Wouldn’t they have drowned in that case? You need to be more specific. I also need to spend less time analyzing your references and jokes and more time breaking down match-ups. The Bills scored three points against the Browns. Enough said…

Prediction: New York Jets 35, Buffalo Bills 3

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

King Says:

Surprise! Who’d have thought this would turn into the game of the weekend? Last week, Matt Hasselbeck found some chemistry with T.J. Houshmandzadeh. This week, against Arizona’s good corners, I think Hasselbeck makes tight end John Carlson the fantasy pick of the weekend.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 28, Arizona Cardinals 27

Benji Says:

Seattle’s banged-up offensive line better overachieve in a big way if the Seahawks are going to come away with a win against Arizona. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can complete passes if he has time to throw (and doesn’t suffer an injury, an increasingly common occurrence for him) but the Cardinals will do everything they can to make sure he doesn’t. They like to take chances and they like to blitz their safeties. Will Hasselbeck complete a few long passes? Probably, but there’s also a good chance he leaves the game with yet another injury…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 30, Seattle Seahawks 20

Chicago Bears (3-1) at Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

King Says:

Upset special. Head says Falcons. Heart says the rested Bears, with Jay Cutler and Devin Hester making three or four big-gainers on the Georgia Dome rug.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 33, Atlanta Falcons 27

Benji Says:

Thanks for stealing my thunder, Your Majesty—I was totally going to call you out on going with your “heart” instead of your “head” but then you went ahead and included all of that information in your prediction. You truly are the “King” of Freudian slips. As for this game, the Falcons’ offense looked unstoppable last Sunday against the previously stingy 49er defense. I can’t see the Bears’ average defense putting up much better of a fight…

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 30, Chicago Bears 23

Denver Broncos (5-0) at San Diego Chargers (2-2)

King Says:

It’s amazing to make this point in the third week of October: The Broncos will take such a commanding lead in the division that they’d all but wrap up the AFC West with a win Monday night at Qualcomm. That would give the Broncs a 3.5-game lead (four-, in effect, with the tiebreaker head-to-head edge) over San Diego, with games against Washington, Kansas City, Oakland and Kansas City remaining. But I’m picking San Diego because of the desperation factor — and because of Philip Rivers’ deep arm.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 19, Denver Broncos 16

Benji Says:

Spoiler alert: I hate the Broncos and continue to predict a blowout loss for them every week. This week it may happen—the Chargers are desperate for a win and I still think that they are a better team than the Broncos. Then again, that’s what I thought last week when the Patriots played them and look how that one turned out…

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 45, Denver Broncos 9


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