Archive for December, 2009

King Says, Benji Says (Week 16)

December 27, 2009

How about this for a late stocking stuffer? His Majesty and I, due to a series of food and spiked eggnog-related incidents, ran short of time this weekend. Thus, you have far less to read this week! Give your eyes and brain a much-needed rest and grab an adult beverage of your choice. The holidays only come once a year, after all…

Last Week:

Peter King (10-6)

Benji (9-7)

Brian (7-9)


Peter King (153-71)

Benji (151-73)

Brian (141-84)

Games we disagree on:

Oakland Raiders (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (3-11)

King Says:

I give Derek Anderson the edge between backup quarterbacks in the Bad Teams Having Good Decembers Bowl.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns 26, Oakland Raiders 23

Benji Says:

What exactly has Derek Anderson done so far this season that leads you to believe he is a benefit to his team? I guess it must have been that win that he led the Browns to against the Bills when he masterfully completed 2 of 17 passing attempts. I guess anything could happen in this game, but at least the Raiders have some semblance of a defense…

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 17, Cleveland Browns 13

Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)

King Says:

I’m just following recent history. The last four games in this series have been decided by 3, 4, 6, and 9 points. This is a playoff game for both teams, and no two teams in the NFL hate each other as much as these two. I expect the most physical game of the weekend.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Baltimore Ravens 16

Benji Says:

Thanks for the history lesson, Your Majesty, because it reminded me of something–I felt very strongly last season that these two teams were evenly matched and the Steelers won all three very close games in the series. How many times can two equal teams play each other (I’m discounting the Ravens’ win earlier this season when Big Ben was out) before the coin comes up tails instead of heads? I’m also not convinced that the Steelers’ defense is capable of containing Baltimore’s star running back, Ray Rice…

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 24

Buffalo Bills (5-9) at Atlanta Falcons (7-7)

King Says:

Bills have franchise-record 18 players on injured-reserve. I wouldn’t be surprised if ace Bills PR man Scott Berchtold puts out this press release sometime this weekend: “Entire Bills Roster Placed On IR; Toronto Argonauts Roster Signed For Final Two Weeks.”

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 30, Buffalo Bills 13

Benji Says:

I may regret this pick, but I just can’t bring myself to go with the Falcons after seeing what their secondary is (in)capable of. The Bills, if nothing else, have a couple of deep threat receivers in Terrell Owens and Lee Evans. The Falcons are just a mess right now on offense and defense…

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 23, Atlanta Falcons 16

As for the rest of the games:

King and Benji Say:

Patriots over Jaguars

Bengals over Chiefs

Dolphins over Texans

Packers over Seahawks

Giants over Panthers

Saints over Buccaneers

49ers over Lions

Cardinals over Rams

Colts over Jets

Eagles over Broncos

Cowboys over Redskins

Vikings over Bears


King Says, Benji Says (Christmas Edition)

December 24, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho–Merry Christmas, everyone! His Majesty and I are appropriately dressed for the occasion. Heed our words of “wisdom” lest you end up with a lump of coal in your stocking tomorrow morning. Without further ado, here are our thoughts on the Christmas Day game…

San Diego Chargers (11-3) at Tennessee Titans (7-7)

King Says:

It’s probably too late for Philip Rivers to wrest the 2009 MVP away from Peyton Manning, but he’s going to do his darndest to try, starting with a drive inside the two-minute warning to win this one.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 24, Tennessee Titans 22

Benji Says:

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has been one of the top quarterbacks in the league this season, but I worry about his defense, especially against the Titans, a team tailor-made to beat the Chargers. Tennessee running back Chris Johnson has a shot at breaking the all-time single season rushing record and the Chargers are allowing 4.4 yards per carry. And, for what it’s worth, the Titans need this game far more than the Chargers do…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 28, San Diego Chargers 24

King Says, Benji Says (Week 15)

December 19, 2009

What do I have to do impress His Majesty? Finish tied or ahead of him in six consecutive weeks? Beat him by one pick last week to pull within one game in the overall standings? Defeat him in a super hot wing-eating contest? Actually, I might have just defeated myself in that last one. Regardless, all I get from King is condescension! Don’t worry, King, I don’t get mad—I get even…by going emo! Cue the Morrissey songs and toss me a tight, black outfit with chain accessories. Be on guard, you so-called football guru—eyeliner is the new eye black…

Last Week:

Peter King (11-5)

Benji (12-4)

Brian (12-4)


Peter King (143-65)

Benji (142-66)

Brian (134-75)

Dallas Cowboys (8-5) at New Orleans Saints (13-0)

King Says:

Tony Romo, the choker who goes catatonic once the calendar turns to January, is a 68-percent passer with 950 yards, seven touchdown and no picks in his last three games. Unfortunately, he’ll need to be even better — and play tackle — for Dallas to win in the ‘Dome.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 30, Dallas Cowboys 26

Benji Says:

Maybe Romo can play some running back while he’s at it—top back Marion Barber has averaged only 3.3 yards a carry the last three weeks against three of the league’s weakest run defenses (the Giants, Chargers and Raiders). That being said, the Saints’ defense seems extremely suspect to me at this point in the season. Points will abound in this game, but as usual, that will work to New Orleans’ benefit.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 40, Dallas Cowboys 33

Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at New York Jets (7-6)

King Says:

I’m no prude, and I don’t mind the occasional sideline tirade. It’s natural. But its happening a little too much for my liking with Mike Smith. If I knew Smith better, I’d tell him, “Mike, you’re obviously a bright coach and a good teacher of men. But the sideline tantrums have to stop. And many of the thousands of kids who watch the replays of you unglued on the sidelines can read lips. Is that the message you want to be sending to kids?”

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Atlanta Falcons 14

Benji Says:

For someone who isn’t a “prude,” you’ve spent way too much time over the last few weeks complaining about Atlanta coach Mike Smith and too little time actually analyzing Atlanta’s match-ups. All I ask is that you make a single mention of the catastrophic injuries to this team’s top two players (quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner) that have knocked them out of the playoff race. Is that too much to ask? Why have I had to ask you for the same thing three weeks running?

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Atlanta Falcons 13

Arizona Cardinals (8-5) at Detroit Lions (2-11)

King Says:

All I can say about the turnover-happy Cards is this: The next back to fumble again (Tim Hightower or Beanie Wells) will be sitting on the bench for a long, long time. Perhaps until August.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 33, Detroit Lions 13

Benji Says:

All I can say about your analysis of the Cardinals is this: a team is allowed to have a bad game once in awhile. Arizona played terrible all across the board on Monday, and Hightower and Wells have both been productive backs all season long. As for this game, look out, Detroit…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 35, Detroit Lions 10

Houston Texans (6-7) at St. Louis Rams (1-12)

King Says:

I love how the NFL can make the horrendous sound just fine. In the league’s game-preview capsules this week, discussing Rams-Texans, there’s this about the nightmare five-interception starting debut from Keith Null last week: “Keith Null made NFL debut last week & threw 1st career TD.” Tiger Woods should hire the NFL writers. In the description of the wee hours of Nov. 27, the capsule would read: “Tiger wore seat belt effectively — Adjusted rear-view mirror well — Family healthy and enjoyed a tasty Thanksgiving meal.”

Prediction: Houston Texans 27, St. Louis Rams 6

Benji Says:

Let me give credit where credit is due: the paragraph above represents King’s best and most humorous analysis of the year. A cheap shot at Tiger, maybe, but the man kind of deserves it—even Santa Claus knows enough to stop after three hos…

Prediction: Houston Texans 30, St. Louis Rams 6

New England Patriots (8-5) at Buffalo Bills (5-8)

King Says:

Wind chill around 10 degrees at kickoff, with 15-mph winds coming off the lake. It’s a day for the short pass and the power running game. So while everyone will have their binocs on Randy Moss’ effort in Orchard Park, they’d be smarter to focus on Sammy Morris.

Prediction: New England Patriots 20, Buffalo Bills 16

Benji Says:

All very true, Your Majesty—but don’t the Patriots thrive on beating the Bills in these sorts of conditions? They play one of these windy, wintry games every year and the score is always ugly but never very close…

Prediction: New England Patriots 17, Buffalo Bills 6

Cleveland Browns (2-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-10)

King Says:

How about Brady Quinn (seven TDs, no picks in his past four games) outplaying Matt Cassel recently? The Chiefs are starting to get worried about Cassel.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns 17, Kansas City Chiefs 12

Benji Says:

It certainly has not helped Cassel’s chances to have only Chris Chambers (one of the most inconsistent receivers in recent memory) to throw to—he’ll be much better off now that Dwayne Bowe is back in uniform…

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 20, Cleveland Browns 13

Chicago Bears (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-6)

King Says:

I use this score for old time’s sake. The last time these two teams met in the Land of the Crabcake, this was the score, and the game was the first in defense of the Super Bowl title. I could see Ray Lewis and his mates doing the same thing to the Jay Cutler version of the Bears.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 17, Chicago Bears 6

Benji Says:

For old time’s sake? This Ravens team is hardly Super Bowl caliber. Then again, they are still significantly better than the Bears…

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 20, Chicago Bears 10

San Francisco 49ers (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)

King Says:

The Eagles are starting to be must-see TV. This is the first time in Andy Reid’s 11 years that, offensively, you just can’t look away because they’re so exciting.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 34, San Francisco 49ers 24

Benji Says:

Unfortunately, you also can’t look away when their opponent is on offense. The Eagles’ defense looked horrendous last week against a Giants team that has struggled to score points for the entire second half of the season.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 28, San Francisco 49ers 24

Miami Dolphins (7-6) at Tennessee Titans (6-7)

King Says:

What you don’t know about this game is how hamstring-hampered Vince Young will be — if he plays at all. If adrenalin can make him the real Vince Young, I like Tennessee. But I picked Miami because I don’t think he can move around the way he’ll need to against the Dolphins front.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 24, Tennessee Titans 20

Benji Says:

If Vince Young is not healthy enough to play, Kerry Collins will be in the game. And with either quarterback at the helm, I think that the Titans will be able to make enough plays downfield to win the game. Miami’s cornerbacks are terrible, and with the way that Chris Johnson is running right now, the Dolphins will have to stack the line and expose them. Any way you look at it, I see this as a bad match-up for Miami…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 24, Miami Dolphins 17

Oakland Raiders (4-9) at Denver Broncos (8-5)

King Says:

You get the feeling that if Charlie Frye weren’t on the roster, Tom Cable would have tried to get David Humm to come out of retirement to start this game. Anyone but JaMarcus Russell.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 31, Oakland Raiders 10

Benji Says:

Why don’t the Raiders get it over with and just cut Russell. They clearly want nothing to do with him at this point. Could he really be worse than Charlie Frye?

Prediction: Denver Broncos 30, Oakland Raiders 13

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at San Diego Chargers (10-3)

King Says:

Heavy-hearted Bengals fly west, sick about the death of their teammate, Chris Henry. Tough, tough day.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 27, Cincinnati Bengals 13

Benji Says:

R.I.P. Chris Henry.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 30, Cincinnati Bengals 13

Green Bay Packers (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7)

King Says:

My last-gasp Steelers pride, Steelers-are-better-than-this pick of the season. Time for Ben Roethlisberger the leader to take the offensive huddle by the throat and get it done. Almost went the other way because of the absence of guard Chris Kemoeatu. Maybe I should have, but I think James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley could bust up the Packers pocket.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Green Bay Packers 20

Benji Says:

The Steelers should be “better than this,” but after losing to Oakland, Kansas City and Cleveland, they’ve done enough to prove to me that they’re not. Stick a fork in them already, King—they’re done.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12) at Seattle Seahawks (5-8)

King Says:

Not saying Matt Hasselbeck’s job in danger, but I am saying he’s 34, he hasn’t had a franchise-quarterback year since 2007, and has to show Jim Mora and the brass in the next three weeks reasons why they shouldn’t take a quarterback in the first two rounds.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Benji Says:

I’m not saying I agree with your assessment of Matt Hasselbeck, Your Majesty, but I am saying that everything you said is factually correct—and that I’ve also been saying it since the beginning of the season. Yay for deliberately (and unnecessarily) deceptive sentences!

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Minnesota Vikings (11-2) at Carolina Panthers (5-8)

King Says:

They won’t need it this weekend, but the Vikings need to find a way to treat these Percy Harvin migraines. That’s trouble for January football, Favre minus Havre.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 23, Carolina Panthers 9

Benji Says:

Is it just me or does King have a really phun time with silly puns/homonyms? As for this game, the Panthers’ only strength is their ability to run the ball and the Vikings’ defense is built to stop the run. What a terrible match-up for Carolina…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 28, Carolina Panthers 10

New York Giants (7-6) at Washington Redskins (4-9)

King Says:

Somehow I doubt the Redskins will put all hands in the middle before taking the field at FedEx and say in unison, “Win it for Vinny!”

Prediction: New York Giants 27, Washington Redskins 26

Benji Says:

How do the Redskins’ players’ feelings about their recently resigned general manager have any affect on the outcome of this game? Also, can they really hate him that much? After all, he’s the one who signed all of them to play on the team! As for this game, I also expect the Redskins to again keep things close but somehow (method TBD) blow it in the fourth quarter. This team blows games it should win more “successfully” than any team in recent memory…

Prediction: New York Giants 20, Washington Redskins 17

King Says, Benji Says (Week 15 Early Edition)

December 18, 2009

It’s Thursday night and you know what that means: King, me and a random picture with a caption that only one person (me) finds humorous. Ready, break!

Indianapolis Colts (13-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6)

King Says:

Shoot, I don’t know who’s playing for the Colts or how long they’re playing. This is more about the Jacksonville offense, and particularly about Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags have scored 54 points in the last four games, during which MJD has amassed a grand total of 349 yards on the ground and receiving. I love the guy, but unless he has a couple of big games in the last three weeks, his last month is going to give ammo to those who say he shouldn’t be an every-down back.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 19, Jacksonville Jaguars 10

Benji Says:

This pick seems so obvious that, because of Cleveland’s shocking upset of Pittsburgh last week, I’m afraid to make it. With the Jaguars struggling as of late, and their top receiver (Mike Sims-Walker) hobbled by a calf injury, the Colts should win easily. They won’t though–I’m pulling a King and going with my gut. The Jaguars will randomly keep this game close…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 19

King Says, Benji Says (Week 14)

December 13, 2009

“We’re not so different, you and I…”

-Peter King (sort of)

King, Dr. Evil and every other cheesy super villain seem to be onto something. If you spend enough time dueling your nemesis, there is always the danger that you will end up turning into him. After a three-week stretch in which we picked an identical number of games correctly, I was starting to question my own autonomy as a faux sports analyst. Then last night happened: I jokingly posted a picture of “pocket kings” to represent King and myself and used his pick, which belittled the Browns to no end, as the sole representation of both of our views on the Thursday Night game between the Steelers and Browns. Needless to say, we were really, really wrong…and I feel really, really stupid. Never again will I let His Majesty speak for me! Even if his picks are right, his analysis is nearly always way off base. Ok, rant over. Back to picking against (hopefully) His Royal Doofusness…

Last Week:

Peter King (10-6)

Benji (10-6)

Brian (9-7)


Peter King (132-60)

Benji (130-62)

Brian (122-71)

Carolina Panthers (5-7) at New England Patriots (7-5)

King Says:

The sense of urgency has been ratcheted up in New England, with the Patriots having lost three of four for the first time since 2002. On a horrific weather morning Thursday, four Patriots including Randy Moss were late for an 8 a.m. team meeting, and Bill Belichick sent them home. Tom Brady questioned his mates’ dedication this week too. All I can say is this: That run-defense had better be dedicated Sunday against DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, or it’s going to be four out of five.

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Carolina Panthers 23

Benji Says:

I would like to either agree with you or disagree with you, Your Majesty, but the truth of the matter is I don’t know what to think of this Patriots team at this point. The Panthers aren’t the greatest team in the world, but they can keep opposing passing games in check and their running game is superb. My gut feeling though? The Patriots take care of business here…

Prediction: New England Patriots 35, Carolina Panthers 17

Cincinnati Bengals (9-3) at Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

King Says:

In September, if you’d asked Cincinnati defensive coordinator MIke Zimmer the two linemen he could least afford to lose, he’d have said Antwan Odom and Domato Peko. Now he’s lost Odom, his best pass-rusher, for the year with an Achilles injury and Peko, his best run-stuffer, till January with a knee scope. Not a good time to be facing the Vikings, on the rug at the Metrodome, with Adrian Peterson determined to get back on track and Brett Favre in the middle of a very good year.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 27, Cincinnati Bengals 17

Benji Says:

While it’s true that the Bengals have lost arguably their two best defensive players, the numbers do not indicate to me that this is a team struggling defensively. Honestly, for all the accolades that quarterback Carson Palmer has received for his “resurgence,” the offense is still the weak link for this team. Cincinnati plays for field goals and lets the defense and running game handle the rest. You can name drop if you want, Your Majesty; personally I judge defenses by how they play as a unit and by the statistics that they compile.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 16, Minnesota Vikings 13

New York Jets (6-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-11)

King Says:

Get that resume tape ready, Kellen Clemens. If you play your cards right, you’ll be dueling Mike Vick on the unemployment line come March. This game could be a good argument for someone to take a chance on a restricted free-agent with a checkered starting record.

Prediction: New York Jets 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Benji Says:

In half a game of mediocre play, Kellen Clemens apparently went from being a career backup quarterback to a free-agent treasure. Were you really that desperate for an angle here, Your Majesty? Couldn’t you have made a “fat joke” about Rex Ryan or something? Or would that have hit too close to home…

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Seattle Seahawks (5-7) at Houston Texans (5-7)

King Says:

This is the kind of game that’s a must win for a coach trying to save his job. Gary Kubiak, I mean; not Jim Mora. And by the way, it’s not a given that Kubiak’s gone. The owner, Bob McNair, thinks the team is closer to the playoffs than the general populace does.

Prediction: Houston Texans 21, Seattle Seahawks 16

Benji Says:

Dramatize all you want, Your Majesty—the truth of the matter is, both of these coaches are in trouble and neither team has a shot at the playoffs. I’m taking the Texans here, just based on the talent advantage (Seattle has no chance in hell of containing star wide receiver Andre Johnson) but I don’t feel very good about it.

Prediction: Houston Texans 23, Seattle Seahawks 20

Buffalo Bills (4-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-9)

King Says:

Please don’t make me say something intelligent about this game.

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 9, Buffalo Bills 6

Benji Says:

Shame on you, King. Asking us not to make you say something intelligent only serves to further perpetuate the myth that you ever have something intelligent to say about any of the games…

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 16, Buffalo Bills 10

New Orleans Saints (12-0) at Atlanta Falcons (6-6)

King Says:

I wanted to pick a real game here. But I just don’t see the Falcons slowing down Drew Brees. Falcons have allowed three of their last four foes to score 28 or more. Saints are scoring 36 a game in their last eight. I sense a trend.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 37, Atlanta Falcons 17

Benji Says:

I also sense a trend: in each of the last two weeks, you have failed to acknowledge Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan’s toe injury. Without Ryan (and probably running back Michael Turner) in the lineup, this team has no chance against New Orleans regardless of how the defense plays…

New Orleans Saints 30, Atlanta Falcons 17

Green Bay Packers (8-4) at Chicago Bears (5-7)

King Says:

I’m going to admit one of the biggest mistakes of my autumn: underrating Aaron Rodgers. He’s a smart, accurate, devoted and focused quarterback. The Packers have a top-10 passer who just turned 26 and with limited wear on his body in the house for the next decade.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 29, Chicago Bears 20

Benji Says:

If Rodgers keeps taking as many shots as he has so far this season, there’s no way he stays healthy for the next decade. It’s nice to see you actually own up to a mistake, however, so I won’t nitpick…

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 23, Chicago Bears 16

Miami Dolphins (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5)

King Says:

Tony Sparano is giving Paul Pasqualoni, his defensive coordinator, that Parcellsesque evil eye this week. It’s the kind of glare Sparano gives when he wants someone to perform better. And the Dolphins’ run defense will be the key to this game. It started to get back on track with the red-zone stuffing of the Patriots last week, but this still is a run game that’s allowed 5.3 yards per carry in the past three weeks, and the Dolphins know Maurice Jones-Drew will be touching the ball 25 times this week. I have faith in the Dolphins D … barely.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 21, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Benji Says:

Methinks the defense played okay last week, so why all of the Parcells/evil eye jargon? The Dolphins beat the Patriots largely because the defense created several key turnovers. Again, though, you missed the key injury that probably swings the outcome of this game: Jacksonville’s top receiver, Mike Sims-Walker, is out with a strained calf and the Jaguars don’t have any other receivers who can take advantage of Miami’s weaknesses in its secondary.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Denver Broncos (8-4) at Indianapolis Colts (12-0)

King Says:

Two 13-0 teams. Three weeks to play. It’s happening. It’s on. Now the question is: Have you ever heard of Curtis Painter? And Colts fans, are you ready to watch Curtis Painter try to win a couple of games to make you 16-0?

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 23, Denver Broncos 21

Benji Says:

Way to pick Denver to make it a close game and then not justify the pick. Personally, I think the Colts are miles ahead of the Broncos…

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 30, Denver Broncos 17

Detroit Lions (2-10) at Baltimore Ravens (6-6)

King Says:

I’ve been wrong on the Ravens all year. I am the president of The Ravens Duped Me Fan Club. And as I went through my volumes of stats and preview information for the week, I decided to throw logic away and take one more chance. Ravens over the Lions! Come on, Joe Flacco! Channel your inner 2008!

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 30, Detroit Lions 10

Benji Says:

Don’t tempt the football gods, Your Majesty. We both saw what happened when we did that on Thursday with the Steelers/Browns game…

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 23, Detroit Lions 13

St. Louis Rams (1-11) at Tennessee Titans (5-7)

King Says:

Chris Johnson, slightly derailed in his MVP/2,000-yard quest at Indianapolis last week, is back with a vengeance … outdueling the noble Steven Jackson with a 175-yard game. The Titans, by the way, will be .500, with a faint playoff pulse, when the Chargers come to Nashville on Christmas night.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 24, St. Louis Rams 9

Benji Says:

Last time I checked, running for 113 yards on 27 carries (Johnson’s seventh straight game with over 100 rushing yards) qualified as a good game for a running back…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 27, St. Louis Rams 9

Washington Redskins (3-9) at Oakland Raiders (4-8)

King Says:

Against Cincinnati, Bruce Gradkowski had a nice little win. Against Pittsburgh, Al Davis had to sit up and take notice. With a third win now, this question has to be asked inside the Raiders’ inner sanctum: Could we actually seriously consider making Bruce Gradkowski our opening-day quarterback in 2010?

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 23, Washington Redskins 20

Benji Says:

The Raiders are definitely significantly better on offense with Gradkowski at quarterback, but they’re still not that good, are they? I think Washington finally wins a close game…

Prediction: Washington Redskins 23, Oakland Raiders 20

San Diego Chargers (9-3) at Dallas Cowboys (8-4)

King Says:

Yes, I realize there’s an NFL rule mandating that Dallas loses in December and Tony Romo chokes and Jerry Jones fumes. So why do I have this strange twist of fate, the Cowboys beating the third-hottest team in football, a team with impossible matchups in the passing game? Because I think the Chargers can be run on (they’ve allowed 5.5 yards per rush in the past three weeks), and because I think Felix Jones and Marion Barber are the guys to do it.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30, San Diego Chargers 27

Benji Says:

All “NFL rules” aside, I’m still picking against the Cowboys. Their defense has been a strength for most of the year, but it allowed big play after big play against the Giants last week. Against San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who throws one of the best deep balls in the league, Dallas’s secondary is in serious trouble unless it makes some major adjustments. The Cowboys can run on the Chargers, but I’m not convinced they can outscore them…

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 33, Dallas Cowboys 26

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) at New York Giants (7-5)

King Says:

I hesitate slightly, because the Giants’ run-defense rallied last week against Dallas, if that run defense is as good this week, New York will win. But I’m not buying that the D is permanently fixed — yet. On the pro side for Philly: The Giants have struggled with the Eagles’ new speed, and DeSean Jackson could return Sunday night from a concussion. Eli Manning looked awful last week; his mechanics might be thrown off because of injuries to both feet. And the Eagles are on the right side of the seesaw in this ever-changing series, winning three in a row by a combined 83-42.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 24, New York Giants 20

Benji Says:

I think the gist of King’s run-on sentence is that if the Giants can stop the run as well as they did last week, they have a shot at winning this game. I disagree. Giants quarterback Eli Manning, because he is playing through injuries to both feet and compensating on his throws, will cause his team to lose the game. Philadelphia’s opportunistic defensive backs will surely take advantage of Manning’s miscues…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 23, New York Giants 14

Arizona Cardinals (8-4) at San Francisco 49ers (5-7)

King Says:

If I were John York and son Jed, I’d be thinking about adding Mike Holmgren to the Mike Singletary-Scot McLoughlan mix right now. Thinking, not necessarily buying. The Niners need to decide on Alex Smith or one of the college guys as their quarterback of the future, and if I were a Niners fan, I’d love to see Holmgren dispatched to work out the top eight kids in the draft this year, then come back to determine if Smith or one of those kids is the long-term solution.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 31, San Francisco 49ers 16

Benji Says:

I don’t know why, but the 49ers always seem to play the Cardinals close despite having a far less talented team. That’s not much in the way of analysis, but it sure beats random speculation about Mike Holmgren becoming a front office representative for a former division rival…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 27, San Francisco 49ers 20

King Says, Benji Says (Week 14 Thursday Edition)

December 11, 2009

Another Thursday evening, another terrible football match-up. I think I speak for King when I–scratch that, King speaks for both of us when he says:

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6) at Cleveland Browns (1-11)

You know, I get a lot of guff from emailers and Tweeps about picking the chalk. So this week, I’m going with one very big upset: Steelers over Browns.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Cleveland Browns 13

(We made a funny!)

King Says, Benji Says (Week 13)

December 6, 2009

My dedication to this blog is best represented by me:

a) Taking the time each week to read every single word that His Majesty posts online (including his Twitter feed)

b) “Gutting it out” this week and typing up this column despite badly dislocating a finger on my right hand last Sunday

c) Waiting until less than two hours before game-time on Thursday for His Majesty to post his picks

d) All of the above

Last Week:

Peter King (11-5)

Benji (11-5)

Brian (14-2)


Peter King (122-54)

Benji (120-56)

Brian (113-64)

Tennessee Titans (5-6) at Indianapolis Colts (11-0)

King Says:

Almost a shootout. What a bitter pill for the anemic Texans to swallow, by the way, to see the Titans jousting the great Colts with a quarterback (Vince Young) and running back (Chris Johnson) Houston bypassed in the draft.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 27, Tennessee Titans 23

Benji Says:

As King reveals above, the most effective way to analyze your pick for a tight game between two good teams is to dedicate the entire space to a team not involved in said game. As for me, I’m taking the Titans here because I’m not convinced that the Colts’ defense can stop Chris Johnson and I don’t see any other game on the schedule which Indianapolis could potentially lose.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 23, Indianapolis Colts 20

Houston Texans (5-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5)

King Says:

Bob McNair looked awfully unhappy when the CBS cameras caught him last week. Not good for Gary Kubiak.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 31, Houston Texans 20

Benji Says:

At least you’re writing about people connected to the Texans in the appropriate space this time. I would add (since it is also considered appropriate to use actual analysis when breaking down football games) that the Texans are ranked second to last in the league in yards allowed per rush and are facing one of the NFL’s premier running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew.

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Houston Texans 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-10) at Carolina Panthers (4-7)

King Says:

Saddest sight of the 2009 season: Jake Delhomme, the all-pro quarterback on the All-Decent Human Being Team, turning into Steve Sax before our very eyes.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12

Benji Says:

While Jake Delhomme has been horrendous this season, he also has no one to throw to other than the apparently over-the-hill Steve Smith. Not that any of that matters against Tampa…

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 23, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

New Orleans Saints (11-0) at Washington Redskins (3-8)

King Says:

Saints, 11-0, play teams with records of 3-8, 6-5, 8-3, 1-10, 4-7 down the stretch. Who dat say dem Saints aren’t going unbeaten?

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 27, Washington Redskins 13

Benji Says:

I made it clear last week that if the Saints were to beat the Patriots, I would begin taking them seriously. Well, there you have it…because of a combination of a cinchy schedule and offensive firepower, this team is undeniably on its way to an undefeated regular season…

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 23, Washington Redskins 13

New England Patriots (7-4) at Miami Dolphins (5-6)

King Says:

Almost went the other way, because I think the Dolphins can pressure Tom Brady and find some leaks in the line, the way the Saints did the other night. But In Brady I Trust, so I think he’ll figure out a way to make enough plays.

Prediction: New England Patriots 23, Miami Dolphins 20

Benji Says:

Who are you kidding, King? I’m disappointed in the way the Patriots played against the Saints, but the Dolphins’ secondary (which made Terrell Owens look like the 2004 version of himself) is completely overmatched by New England’s passing game.

Prediction: New England Patriots 35, Miami Dolphins 20

Philadelphia Eagles (7-4) at Atlanta Falcons (6-5)

King Says:

Fantasy Football players of the world, do not get violently ill: free-agent pickup LeSean McCoy, 4.29 yards per rush, three touchdowns, 528 rushing yards; low first-round pick Matt Forte, 3.29 yards per rush, three touchdowns, 543 rushing yards.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Atlanta Falcons 16

Benji Says:

Since King would rather talk about fantasy football (and a comparison that has very little to do with this game), allow me to bring you up to speed: both of the Falcons’ best offensive players (quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner) are expected to sit this one out with injuries, which is very bad news for a team that would struggle to compete with Philadelphia even at full strength…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 35, Atlanta Falcons 16

Denver Broncos (7-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-8)

King Says:

You know what’s the dumbest thing of the week? Josh McDaniels apologizing to America for swearing on the bench during a football game! Hello? The apology should be NFL Network’s. At the very least, the game should be on a seven-second delay if they want to be so up-close-and-personal, so we don’t have to hear the crusty language. Absurd.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 19, Kansas City Chiefs 16

Benji Says:

I believe I speak for the majority of readers right now when I say: Who cares about Josh McDaniels uttering a curse word on the bench? I’m much more interested in your reasoning behind expecting this to be a close game. I believe the Broncos are a much better team than the Chiefs…

Prediction: Denver Broncos 23, Kansas City Chiefs 13

Oakland Raiders (3-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

King Says:

Let’s just say I’d be surprised if Hines Ward is the leading receiver for the Steelers on Sunday afternoon — and it’s not only because he should attract man coverage from Nnamdi Asomugha early and often.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 33, Oakland Raiders 16

Benji Says:

Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger are teammates on a two-time Super Bowl-winning team, not highschool girls…

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 26, Oakland Raiders 13

St. Louis Rams (1-10) at Chicago Bears (4-7)

King Says:

Bears are 20-23 since losing in the Super Bowl to Indianapolis, and they’ve lost games by 35, 20 and 26 in the past six weeks. With all due respect to the plunge Seattle’s taken, the 4-7 Bears are the most disappointing team in the league. Also, it says a ton about how far the Rams have to travel to be good again that I’ve got the Bears winning this by double digits.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 27, St. Louis Rams 13

Benji Says:

King pretty much said it all on this one—both teams are terrible but the Rams are much worse…

Prediction: Chicago Bears 27, St. Louis Rams 13

Detroit Lions (2-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-3)

King Says:

To have any shot at the number two and the bye out of the wild-card round (yes, I’m saying that about the Cincinnati Bengals), the Striped Ones will have to sweep the three winnables — Detroit, KC, at Jets — and either upset the Vikes or Chargers on the road or get some help from foes of the Chargers.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 30, Detroit Lions 20

Benji Says:

As His Majesty should have pointed out, both of Detroit’s best offensive players (quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson) are severely limited by injuries right now. The Bengals should have no trouble here…

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 23, Detroit Lions 10

San Diego Chargers (8-3) at Cleveland Browns (1-10)

King Says:

I noticed Westwood One is doing this game on national radio. Lord in heaven, why?

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 37, Cleveland Browns 9

Benji Says:

I can’t call The King out for refusing to actually analyze this game when I don’t feel like doing it either. The Browns stink…

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 37, Cleveland Browns 9

San Francisco 49ers (5-6) at Seattle Seahawks (4-7)

King Says:

But the real story will be up in the booth high above Qwest Field, ladies and gentlemen. That’s where Ross Tucker will make his FOX national color debut, alongside tag-team partner Chris Myers. I’m sure he’s going to regale Spokane and Tukwila and Redding and Burlingame with some great stories about how I’ve taught him everything he knows about … well, everything.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 26, Seattle Seahawks 20

Benji Says:

Why discuss your reasoning behind picking the 49ers to win this game when you can shamelessly plug your Sports Illustrated colleague? Also, how did you end plugging yourself in the process, Your Majesty? You never cease to amaze me. I’m taking the Seahawks, because I believe that the crowd noise at Qwest Field provides a huge advantage and I also think that the 49ers’ defense is susceptible to the pass (allowing a 20th ranked 11.6 yards per reception).

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 26, San Francisco 49ers 20

Dallas Cowboys (8-3) at New York Giants (6-5)

King Says:

Toughest game of the week to predict, because the Cowboys traditionally win as often in December as the Canadiens do in July. And this one’s in New Jersey. I think the ability of Miles Austin, playing six miles from his front door, to make Giants defenders miss will be a big factor here.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 24, New York Giants 22

Benji Says:

Streaks were made to be broken. The Giants are a mess right now—they can’t generate a pass rush, their quarterback is hobbling around and throwing the ball up for grabs and their vaunted running game is vastly underperforming. The Cowboys are not a very good 8-3 team, but they’re miles ahead of New York at this point…

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 28. New York Giants 13

Minnesota Vikings (10-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-4)

King Says:

Someday, you’ll be rocking on a porch somewhere, and your grandkids will be nestled around you, and they’ll want to know your favorite stories from the old days, and you’ll tell ’em about the 40-year-old quarterback, the slightly indecisive one, who had the best year of his career when he was his grayest.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 34, Arizona Cardinals 24

Benji Says:

Speaking of aging quarterbacks, my pick for this game hinges upon whether or not 38-year old Kurt Warner plays (a game-time decision because of post-concussion symptoms). If Warner plays, I like the Cardinals because I don’t think that the Minnesota secondary can match up with Arizona’s many talented wide receivers. The Vikings are a very good team, but I just feel like this is a bad match-up for them.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 30, Minnesota Vikings 23

Baltimore Ravens (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4)

King Says:

Just when you thought you could start to figure out the AFC playoff picture with the Ravens dropping out, they get hauled back in the pennant race. Never thought I’d look at the Ravens and say Ray Rice might be their most indispensible player. He’s not, really, because they couldn’t afford to lose Joe Flacco. But the fact that it’s even a point to consider is a testament to what a great impact Rice has made.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 29, Green Bay Packers 17

Benji Says:

The Ravens were handed a victory last week by the Steelers (overtime interception by first-time starter Dennis Dixon) and the Packers have certainly looked like the better team as of late; however, Green Bay’s fatal flaw is its inability to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Ravens’ aggressive defense is designed to take advantage.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 20, Green Bay Packers 17

King Says, Benji Says (Week 13 Early Edition)

December 4, 2009

King waited until the very last second to post, so we’ll keep this short and sweet:

New York Jets (5-6) at Buffalo Bills (4-7)

King Says:

I see where Joe Girardi came in and taught Mark Sanchez how to slide. Rex Ryan couldn’t have asked for Mariano Rivera to come in and teach him pinpoint control? By the way, Terrell Owens is nine catches away from 1,000 for his career. Darrelle Revis will be covering him. Terrell Owens will exit the game seven catches away from 1,000 for his career.

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Buffalo Bills 16
Benji Says:

There was only one way to respond to King’s “analysis” here: I hired Roger Clemens to throw a beanball at his head. Oh, I also expect the Bills to amass exactly 123 rushing yards. No particular reason–I’m just such a distinguished sportswriter that I can make up random precise predictions and not get called out…

Prediction: Buffalo Bills 23, New York Jets 20