King Says, Benji Says (Week 13)

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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)

Overall:

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

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