King Says, Benji Says (Week 7)



The NFL can try to put a crimp in my style, but I am determined to immunize myself against its current brand of jinx—a week with an unlucky thirteen games! After a two-pick victory over The King that pulled me within a single game of him in the standings, I am determined to make my own luck this week; as a true believer in the power of free will over fate, I have decided to counter the league’s unlucky thirteen with a lucky (well, strangely attractive) one. May I present to you Miss Remy Hadley (aka Thirteen)! Much to Foreman’s dismay, the loser of this week’s picking match-up will be awarded a date with the (now single) Thirteen. Get it? Everybody wins…except the actress who plays Thirteen, who is probably applying for the Witness Protection Program as we speak…

Last Week:

Peter King (6-8)

Benji (8-6)

Brian (6-8)


Peter King (60-30)

Benji (59-31)

Brian (49-41)

Chicago Bears (3-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)

King Says:

I’m dying to know what Cincinnati is. First a ball bounces stupidly for the Bengals, and they lose a game they should have won. Then they win four games by the skin of their striped tails. Then the almighty Houston Texans hold them to three three-and-outs and three turnovers in the second half last week. I must be an idiot to be picking them. Why am I? Four words: the revenge of Cedric.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 24, Chicago Bears 23

Benji Says:

Let me start things off by telling King what Cincinnati is, since he is “dying to know:” Cincinnati is Ohio’s third-largest city, located in the southwest corner of the state. As for the Bengals, I’m not sure what to make of them either. It seems silly to write them off after one bad offensive half though. As far as bodies of work are concerned, the Bengals have done more so far this season to impress me than the Bears have. Chicago played Atlanta close last Sunday, but was unable to fix its most glaring weaknesses during its bye week—its running game was still non-existent and it committed inane penalties at crucial points in the game.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 23, Chicago Bears 20

Green Bay Packers (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (1-5)

King Says:

I know this after watching much of Cleveland-Pittsburgh: The Browns’ defense will show up. But after losing D’Qwell Jackson for the year, Cleveland’s run support will be a shell of itself.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 23, Cleveland Browns 12

Benji Says:

If the Browns’ defensive performance against the Steelers last week qualifies as showing up, then me playing online Settlers of Catan and drinking a couple of Magic Hats instead of finishing my Americorps paperwork was productivity personified. Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards last week! Once again, you are utterly wrong in your analysis but undoubtedly correct with your pick—the Browns are terrible and have no shot against the Packers.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, Cleveland Browns 17

San Diego Chargers (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)

King Says:

A must-win for the Chargers, or A.J. Smith would fire people on the charter home, before the plane left Missouri airspace. The one X factor in this game: Matt Cassel’s on a pretty good roll (132 attempts without an interception, 6-0 touchdown-to-interception differential in the last four games), and the Chargers need someone to help the kid, Larry English, generate a rush to throw him out of rhythm.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 23, Kansas City Chiefs 16

Benji Says:

I’ll start viewing Matt Cassel (who I like by the way) as an X-factor when his team acquires an entirely new offensive line with pro-level talent, a running back who at least has the speed to outrun defensive linemen and someone else to throw to other than Dwayne Bowe. Until then, all he will be capable of is grinding out occasional wins against terrible teams—a group I’m not ready to place the Chargers in quite yet.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 40, Kansas City Chiefs 16

Indianapolis Colts (5-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-6)

King Says:

Peyton Manning’s only game in the Edward Jones Dome was a horrible loss — a 42-17 pasting by the Greatest Show On Turf team in 2001 — and produced some of the most pedestrian numbers of his life: 15 of 28, 195 yards, no touchdowns, one pick. If he has a game worse than that this week, this I vow: I will go a year without mentioning the words “Starbucks” and “Red Sox” in Monday Morning Quarterback. Promise.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 40, St. Louis Rams 14

Benji Says:

No Red Sox or Starbucks for a year? Brian must be rooting so hard for the Rams right now. Even in the Week of Thirteen, though, Saint Louis has no chance…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 40, St. Louis Rams 14

Minnesota Vikings (6-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

King Says:

If you’re Mike Tomlin, what you’ve got to be telling your offense this week is: Possess the ball. Last week, the Ravens gave the Vikes 13 possessions … and seven scores resulted. The Steelers are second in the league in time of possession (33:53 per game), but I think they need to go the extra miles this week: Receivers should sell out to stay inbounds, and go out of bounds under duress only if forced. Just a thought, coach.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Minnesota Vikings 23

Benji Says:

Way to take a good idea (controlling the time of possession) ten steps too far, Your Majesty—if the Steelers were to shy away from being close to the sideline, they could cost themselves all manner of big plays over the course of the game. That being said, your pick is again right for the wrong reasons. The Vikings are due for a road loss against a good team.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Minnesota Vikings 23

New England Patriots (4-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)

King Says:

Cheerio! As Roger Goodell flies to London this week, one of The Things I Think He Thinks is: Come on, Bill. Puh-leeeze. Don’t run the score up this week. Not in this showcase game. Liked what Raheem Morris said Wednesday about the partially abbreviated practice schedule for the Bucs, who lose the Friday workout because they’ll be flying across the pond that day. “You’ll miss that extra little bit of time just preparing for Coach Belichick. Great.”

Prediction: New England Patriots 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Benji Says:

While Tampa’s defensive backs are pretty terrible, they have to put up a better performance than Tennessee’s did in snowy Foxboro last weekend, right? Don’t discount the time zone change—both teams are going to be jet-lagged and this may end up being a sloppy game. Cheers!

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

San Francisco 49ers (3-2) at Houston Texans (3-3)

King Says:

It’s possible that Matt Schaub leads the NFL in normalcy. Nice guy. Not impressed with himself. All he cares about is the next play, the next game. Good to see him be the very odd answer to this question: Who leads the NFL in touchdown passes after six weeks?

Prediction: Houston Texans 27, San Francisco 49ers 20

Benji Says:

Just throwing it out there: Matt Schaub also leads the league in games lost because the quarterback could not generate the tying score from the one-yard line. I’ll take the 49ers in this one—I’m counting on head coach Mike Singletary to have fixed the defensive problems that hurt his team against Atlanta during the bye week.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 20, Houston Texans 17

Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-2)

King Says:

Matt Ryan’s 7-1 in his last eight games. He’s good on the road, and the Dallas pass-rush isn’t going to bother him much. On the other side, I say John Abraham is going to be buzzing around Tony Romo’s head all day.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 27, Dallas Cowboys 24

Benji Says:

Matt Ryan and the Falcons have looked solid all year, but their defense is not impregnable—the Bears, despite struggling to run the ball, left several touchdowns on the field because of mental errors and stupid turnovers. If the Cowboys are going to make a run at a playoff spot, they better come out with a strong performance at home after their bye week. Otherwise, I am writing them off…

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 28, Atlanta Falcons 21

New Orleans Saints (5-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)

King Says:

You’ve heard all the stories about how Drew Brees is so happy to be in New Orleans, I can vouch for that. He and his wife are happy to live, work, and be positive symbols for the revival of a great American city. But I can also tell you this: He’d be a Dolphin today if the Miami medical staff hadn’t scared him off to Nick Saban. Promise.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 29, Miami Dolphins 20

Benji Says:

Wow, King. Way to waste an entire paragraph of “analysis” on a speculative story you pulled from the Truth and Rumors section (aka the TMZ of sports) of your company’s website. As for my take on this game? The Saints (who if you recall I correctly picked to beat the Giants last week) have an opportunistic defense that takes chances in order to generate turnovers; the Dolphins’ Wild Cat offense thrives on taking advantage of defensive players over-committing. The Saints’ offense is at its most successful when it is in rhythm—this rhythm can and will be disrupted by the Dolphins, who will utilize their running game to control the time of possession and keep the ball out of Drew Brees’s hands (remember that game against the Colts earlier this year?). Most importantly, the Dolphins are playing at home and coming off a bye week, while the Saints are due for a let-down after their huge win against New York last Sunday.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, New Orleans Saints 20

Buffalo Bills (2-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-3)

King Says:

Last time they met in Charlotte, Doug Flutie threw for two touchdowns and Thurman Thomas ran for one. I daresay the men of Jauron would have a better shot Sunday with Flutie and Thurmanator in the starting lineup.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 24, Buffalo Bills 17

Benji Says:

I’ve come up with an adapted version of an old adage for you, Your Majesty: If you don’t have something relevant to say, don’t say anything at all. Also, are the Panthers really that formidable an opponent? Their two wins have come against Tampa and Washington, and they only beat the Redskins because of a terrible non-call on fair-catch interference on a punt. Yes, they ran the ball very effectively against Tampa last weekend, and yes Buffalo’s run defense is terrible—but do you really trust Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme, who didn’t even accumulate 100 passing yards last week?

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 20, Buffalo Bills 17

Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at New York Giants (5-1)

King Says:

What a great game, and I don’t say that because I work for the rights-holder to it, NBC. I say it because Kurt Warner and Eli Manning are going to throw for 700 yards and six touchdowns, and it’s going to come down to who makes the big play in the last five minutes. I say Eli gets the very bad taste from last week out of his mouth Sunday night.

Prediction: New York Giants 37, Arizona Cardinals 33

Benji Says:

As much as I like the Cardinals, their Achilles’ Heel is their inability to block pass-rushers from either tackle position. As the Colts showed me earlier this year, any team with two talented defensive ends is going to cause fits for Arizona’s offensive line. Unless the Cardinals bring in extra blockers (ala the second half of the Super Bowl against the Steelers), Warner is going to get hit early and often, which doesn’t bode well for Arizona’s chances of winning this game…

Prediction: New York Giants 30, Arizona Cardinals 20

Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) at Washington Redskins (2-4)

King Says:

It’s almost like the Redskins don’t want to win. Who gives a guy in the building three weeks the keys to the offense?

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 23, Washington Redskins 10

Benji Says:

As someone who ignored the potential dangers of firing an offensive coordinator right before the season started (my bad on picking Tampa to be a decent team), I won’t make the same mistake the second time around. I agree with you, Your Majesty. Washington’s downward spiral (and offensive ineptitude) continues in this game…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Washington Redskins 10


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