Posts Tagged ‘King Says Benji Says’

King Says, Benji Says (Super Bowl Edition)

February 6, 2010

Who Dat?

Just Kidding!

We (myself, Brian and His Majesty) are all taking the Colts…

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King Says, Benji Says: Divisional Round

January 16, 2010

Let’s keep this short and sweet, like a…(the above picture fills in the blank)

Last Week:

Peter King: 2-2

Brian: 1-3

Benji: 1-3

Arizona Cardinals (11-6) at New Orleans Saints (13-3)

King Says: Saints

Benji Says: Cardinals

Brian Says: Saints

Baltimore Ravens (10-7) at Indianapolis Colts (14-2)

King Says: Colts

Benji Says: Colts

Brian Says: Ravens

Dallas Cowboys (12-5) at Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

King Says: Cowboys

Benji Says: Vikings

Brian Says: Cowboys

New York Jets (10-7) at San Diego Chargers (13-3)

King Says: Chargers

Benji Says: Chargers

Brian Says: Chargers

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)

Overall:

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 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

King Says, Benji Says (Week 12)

November 29, 2009

Now that our Thanksgiving food hangovers have finally subsided, His Majesty and I are ready to “gobble” up some more tasty football match-ups for your entertainment. We’ve agreed on quite a bit lately, but this weekend’s set of games looks to be a perfect storm of analytical dissonance for the two of us. Sit back, grab a leftover turkey leg and enjoy…

Last Week:

Peter King (13-3)

Benji (13-3)

Brian (12-4)

Overall:

Peter King (111-49)

Benji (109-51)

Brian (99-62)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9) at Atlanta Falcons (5-5)

King Says:

Feel free to call me on this prediction: Matt Ryan’s in the midst of a 1-4 run of losing. It’s the last time in his career he’ll be on such a run.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Benji Says:

As always, Brian and I will be sure to call you out on this prediction, a textbook King unwittingly fearless prognostication. I’m with you on the Falcons winning—the Buccaneers are terrible, after all—but I don’t feel that strongly about it.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Indianapolis Colts (10-0) at Houston Texans (5-5)

King Says:

And so the dream dies here, the dream of a perfect Indy season, at Reliant Stadium, where the Colts have had an increasingly difficult time winning. I understand the Colts are 14-1 against the Texans in their history together, but in the past three years, the Colts have been just one measly touchdown better than the Texans in Reliant. Composite 2006, ’07 and ’08 score when they meet in Houston: Colts, 85-78. One final factor: Houston has much to play for. Indy? Not so much. Because the Colts know their new coach, just like the last coach, will probably yank the starters as soon home-field in the AFC is clinched, rendering the run for perfection moot.

Prediction: Houston Texans 30, Indianapolis Colts 27

Benji Says:

What you forgot to mention in the midst of your analysis of the Colts/Texans games over the past three years, Your Majesty, is what the Texans have done in the last three weeks. Houston, since losing its second best offensive target (tight end Owen Daniels) for the year, has struggled to score in the red zone and has no running game to speak of. Is it possible that the Texans win this game? Yes, after all, the Colts made key mistakes when these two teams met three weeks ago and only won by a field goal. I just don’t think that picking the Colts to lose here is by any means a sure thing (as your analysis implies it is).

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 30, Houston Texans 23

Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-7)

King Says:

At various points in the past five years, Ricky Williams has been a) a new-age medical student; b) high on life; c) totally disinterested in football; d) the key to any playoff hopes the Dolphins have; or e) all of the above. Correct answer, obviously, is “e.”

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, Buffalo Bills 16

Benji Says:

The correct way to utilize writing space dedicated to football analysis is a) as a forum for discussing Starbucks cappuccino flavors; b) as a way to rehash off-the-field issues about a team’s star player that in no way pertain to the game at hand; c) by creating a silly set of multiple choice answers that are clearly (to the average NFL fan) all applicable and then telling us the answer anyway; or d) attempting to mock the original offender by using the same lame format because you don’t feel like analyzing what looks to be a terrible game.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 30, Buffalo Bills 16

Washington Redskins (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-4)

King Says:

Welcome to the DeSean and LeSean Show. Jackson and McCoy account for 21 points at the Linc, and fans get off Andy Reid’s back for one Sunday.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Washington Redskins 16

Benji Says:

Why, Your Majesty, do you insist on making such specific stat predictions about Eagles players this season? The chances of you being wrong are so much higher than you being right, even if the point you’re making in your analysis (DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are the keys to the Eagles offense) ends up being correct. My take? The Washington defense, which has been solid all year, will probably put up another strong performance, but its offense simply cannot score…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 17, Washington Redskins 10

Chicago Bears (4-6) at Minnesota Vikings (9-1)

King Says:

The Vikings and Bears will meet twice in a 29-day span. Chicago will regret both encounters.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 33, Chicago Bears 27

Benji Says:

Maybe it’s just me, but usually when one brings in the clichéd “these two teams will meet twice in a ___ span” statement, I find that he/she is referring to a situation in which the two teams are playing each other twice in a short time period. A month is a long time between games…. The part about Chicago regretting both encounters, though? Probably true…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Chicago Bears 20

Carolina Panthers (4-6) at New York Jets (4-6)

King Says:

How long’s it been since a team with two three-game losing streaks in one season is in wild-card contention? Ever? A win here could have the Jets a game out of the second wild card Sunday night with five games to play. Pretty fortunate for a team that’s 1-6 since September and playing like lost sheep in the pasture of life.

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Carolina Panthers 20

Benji Says:

Usually a team has to show some signs of life (as in maybe winning some games and not turning the ball over five times a contest?) before hyperbolic sportswriters begin to write about it mounting a comeback in the standings. The turnovers are what really have me shying away from taking the Jets here—rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez (once dubbed the “Sanchize” by His Majesty earlier this season) looks lost on the field and is making terrible decisions throwing the ball.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 23, New York Jets 17

Arizona Cardinals (7-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-6)

King Says:

Something’s got to give in Nashville. Titans have won four straight. Cards are 5-0 on the road. Vince Young’s on fire. Kurt Warner left last Sunday’s game with a ringing headache. It might be that simple — plus, I think Warner’s only going to have nine or 10 possession. That’s what the ball-control offense of the Chris Johnson-led Titans can do to you.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 27, Arizona Cardinals 20

Benji Says:

Something is going to give in Nashville—I believe it will be the last semblance of Arizona backup quarterback Matt Leinart’s self-confidence. The Cardinals aren’t going to take any chances with Warner with the NFC West all but sewn up…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 23, Arizona Cardinals 16

Cleveland Browns (1-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-3)

King Says:

In the sixth round last April, the Bengals had two picks. They selected cornerback Morgan Trent of Michigan and running back Bernard Scott from Abilene Christian. This weekend, they’ll be terrorizing Brady Quinn and rushing for 100 yards, respectively, in a rout of Cleveland.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 38, Cleveland Browns 10

Benji Says:

Enough with the super-specific stats, Your Majesty! You have a better chance of undermining your likely correct analysis than you do of picking exact stat-lines for players. Your point is valid, however—the Browns are really bad…

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 30, Cleveland Browns 13

Seattle Seahawks (3-7) at St. Louis Rams (1-9)

King Says:

If you sell this one out, Kevin Demoff, you’re executive of the century.

Prediction: St. Louis Rams 23, Seattle Seahawks 20

Benji Says:

Come on, there have certainly been worse games to pick on than this one—the Rams did play the Browns after all.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 27, St. Louis Rams 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-6)

King Says:

Aubrayo Franklin and Isaac Sapoaga over Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD held to 43 total yards, and the 49ers advance to 5-6. They’ve got a wild-card pulse.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 15

Benji Says:

First of all, the 49ers run defense may be good (ranked second in the league, allowing 3.5 yards per carry) but is it really good enough to completely shut down Maurice Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 463 yards over the last four weeks? Second of all, for the last time, quit it with the exact predictions on players’ stats! Trying to guess a player’s exact stat-line is the gambling equivalent of placing all of your money on a single number in roulette…

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 17, San Francisco 49ers 15

Kansas City Chiefs (3-7) at San Diego Chargers (7-3)

King Says:

Oh, how I wanted to pick the Chiefs to make it three in a row. I would have, if I thought they could cover the basketball team known as the San Diego receiver group. Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Kassim Osgood, Antonio Gates ??? it’s an NBA team, a bunch of 6-foot-5 athletes with great hands.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 31, Kansas City Chiefs 21

Benji Says:

I guess it has been at least three weeks since you made a comment about the height advantage that the Chargers’ receivers have over an opposing team’s defensive backs…still, though, isn’t there something else you could talk about with San Diego other than its tall receivers and its perennial Pro Bowl tight end (Antonio Gates) being overlooked (see Brian’s post from last week)? How about this: the Chargers have a major talent advantage over the Chiefs and should win this game easily unless they don’t show up to play (which is always a possibility)…

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 34, Kansas City Chiefs 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

King Says:

Hines Ward, James Harrison and James Farrior have circled the wagons this week in Pittsburgh. Last year, when the veterans drew a line in the sand and said Baltimore’s not crossing over, the Steelers beat Baltimore by 3, 4 and 9 points. I respect Baltimore resiliency, but I like Pittsburgh’s players better, even in the killer Maryland venue. The one thing I know about this game is that midway through the third quarter, after Ray Lewis knocks Rashard Mendenhall into next week, Dick Ebersol’s going to be in the NBC truck, smiling, and thinking, “Thank God I didn’t flex out of this game.”

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 22, Baltimore Ravens 17

Benji Says:

Wow, King. Way to mention five players involved in this game without making any reference to the key player whose presence (or lack thereof) will likely decide the outcome of this game: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If Big Ben plays, the Steelers have a good chance to win, but I highly doubt the team (despite suggesting otherwise during the week) will let him play a week after sustaining a concussion. If he doesn’t play (and I believe he won’t), second year player Dennis Dixon (Pittsburgh’s only healthy quarterback) will struggle mightily against the opportunistic Baltimore defense.

Baltimore Ravens 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 6

New England Patriots (7-3) at New Orleans Saints (10-0)

King Says:

Slightly alarming trend: Pats have been outscored in the second half of their three losses 47-10. More alarming trend Monday night: Drew Brees has about 11 favorite receivers. There can’t be too much hype for this game. It’s going to be really good. Gregg Williams is going to have to be really good to put his beat-up secondary in position to make enough plays against the great Brady to win.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 37, New England Patriots 33

Benji Says:

How about this for a “slightly alarming trend:” The Saints have only played one team (the Eagles) with fewer than five losses so far this season. They also almost lost to both the Rams and Buccaneers. Yes, the Saints’ offense is great (ranked number one in the league in case everyone in the media hasn’t already mentioned it)—but are they really an elite team? Right now they are the NFL equivalent of the undefeated college football team at Boise State. Here’s a great chance for them to prove me wrong—the Patriots are right behind them in nearly every offensive category and have, at the least, proven that they are capable of beating the also-undefeated Colts. If the Saints win this one, I will have to start taking them seriously…

Prediction: New England Patriots 30, New Orleans Saints 27

King Says, Benji Says (Week 10)

November 15, 2009

BreakingTheCurseOf13InStyle

Townspeople rejoice! The Curse of 13 (games played) has finally been lifted. I may not have figured out a way to get a date with any of the actresses from House, but I did break The King’s spell by correctly picking Pittsburgh to win on Monday Night Football. I don’t know about you all, but I am celebrating in style in my new digs. With a Vermonster in hand, and my former enemy (His Majesty) at my side, I am ready to tackle the 14 Sunday/Monday match-ups…

Last Week:

Peter King (8-5)

Benji (9-4)

Brian (7-7)

Overall:

Peter King (89-40)

Benji (86-43)

Brian (75-55)


Dallas Cowboys (6-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-4)

King Says:

If I were the FOX director doing this game, I’d have a WadeCam (because Wade Phillips is always good for about eight agonized expressions during a game), and I’d dedicate one to Jerry Jones, seething, in the final two minutes. I don’t love Green Bay, but I like them here because they’ve got to look at this game as a last-gasp playoff hope.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, Dallas Cowboys 27

Benji Says:

Since I’m in a good mood (The King and I signed a peace treaty and swore on a pair of Vermonsters), I’ll respectfully agree with His Majesty here. I like the way the Cowboys are playing on offense and defense right now, but if the Packers don’t win here, their season is pretty much over…

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, Dallas Cowboys 27

Buffalo Bills (3-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-6)

King Says:

Biggest fallacy on the NFL planet this morning: Vince Young wouldn’t be playing unless Bud Adams did an interview when the Titans were 0-6 and said he thought it was time for Young to play. Every little barb helped, but this is a decision Jeff Fisher was on the verge of making either that week or the next.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 25, Buffalo Bills 17

Benji Says:

Regardless of who made the decision to start Vince Young and when the decision was made, the Titans are playing infinitely better with Young as the starting quarterback. The Bills’ offense is completely inept, and their defense is allowing a league worst 5.1 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Look for another solid game from Young and a dominant performance from running back Chris Johnson…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 30, Buffalo Bills 13

Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) at Oakland Raiders (2-6)

King Says:

You’ve got a choice, viewers of Kansas City. Your PBS affiliate is showing “A Walk in the Sun,” a movie about the randomness of war set in WWII, at 3 p.m. local time. In other words, there might be better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 24, Kansas City Chiefs 11

Benji Says:

I’m not sure who should feel more insulted: PBS viewers or Kansas City and Oakland football fans? We get it, Your Majesty—you want to play up the clichéd storyline that both of these teams are really bad. I guess there isn’t really that much else to talk about here though…

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 20, Oakland Raiders 13

New Orleans Saints (8-0) at St. Louis Rams (1-7)

King Says:

There’s an X factor here. I wonder how Sean Payton keeps his team focused these next two weeks, with Rams and Bucs on the road preceding the big Monday nighter with New England.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 33, St. Louis Rams 10

Benji Says:

The Saints won’t need much “focus” against a team whose only win was a nail-biter against the hapless Lions…

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 35, St. Louis Rams 10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7) at Miami Dolphins (3-5)

King Says:

I’m not sure whether it was Bill Parcells or Tony Sparano. But I can bet you a Gloria Estefan CD that one of those men, sometime in the past three or four days, said something to Chad Henne along the lines of: “Son, if you’re going to complete 54 percent, like you have over the past three games, and take as many sacks as you’ve been taking, and not get us into the end zone, you’ll never make it in this league.” Lucky for Henne, he’s got the Bucs coming to Fishland on Sunday.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Benji Says:

I’ll see your Gloria Estefan CD and raise you a Britney Spears one that neither Bill Parcells or Tony Sparano said anything of the sort to Henne—for a young quarterback who has started fewer than half a season’s worth of games, I think he has done quite well for himself. The Dolphins may be 3-5 but their schedule has been extremely tough thus far and I still think they have an outside shot at a playoff berth if they play at the same level they have shown in their first eight games. Oh, as for this game? Enjoy your lone win, Tampa—you won’t get another one for a long while…

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Detroit Lions (1-7) at Minnesota Vikings (7-1)

King Says:

Brett Favre really needed the bye, and the banged-up Adrian Peterson was pretty happy to have it too. On the other side of the ball, I hear the Lions are battling rumors that the two big stars, Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, are sniping at each other. Calvin, it’s nothing personal; the kid’s just not all there yet. And he has thrown 49 balls your way in five starts when you’ve been on the field together. What’s the gripe? That’s 2.5 balls per quarter.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 14

Benji Says:

As far as obscure stats go…why break down the number of balls thrown to Johnson per quarter? What additional information does that statistic provide for the reader? Maybe you would be better off, say, telling us what percentage of Stafford’s total passes are directed toward Johnson? Ah, what does it matter? The Lions stink…I just wish you wouldn’t waste words in this situation that could be better used to explain your other more noteworthy picks…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 16

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) at New York Jets (4-4)

King Says:

Rex Ryan, getting whiplash watching Maurice Jones-Drew sprint by him a couple of times, will turn to an assistant and say, “You have no idea how much I miss Leon Washington.”

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Benji Says:

Correct me if I’m wrong: one would assume that if a high-profile sportswriter spent an entire paragraph of analysis describing the dominance of a player on one team and a notable injury on the other team, that the former would be the team he picked to win, no? Hmmmm…well, I’m taking the Jets (the home team) because I don’t trust the Jaguars, who have shown themselves to be the most inconsistent team in the league at the halfway point of the season…

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Seattle Seahawks (3-5) at Arizona Cardinals (5-3)

Arizona 28, Seattle 21. “Hey, hey, come on now,” Kurt Warner said to me when I began a conversation the other day with, “Well, it’s been feast or famine for you.” Five picks, then five touchdowns. He’s right-two of the five picks were fluke jobs. The will of Jim Mora might make this closer, but a month ago, in Seattle, the Cards won by 24.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 28, Seattle Seahawks 21

Benji Says:

Way to kill the suspense by giving us another copy of your predicted score before your analysis. Also, last time I checked, other than the last two weeks, Warner hasn’t been feast or famine—he’s been consistently a bit above average. I feel like a broken record here, but…it’s all irrelevant, because the Seahawks stink…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 38, Seattle Seahawks 16

Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

King Says:

I find it amazing that the Bengals are 4-0 in AFC North games, 3-0 against the Big Two (Ravens, Steelers) and if they lose this game, they’ll be a game out of first in the division. This is a much bigger game for Pittsburgh than Cincinnati, because a loss by the Steelers would put them two games out, in effect (one plus the head-to-head tiebreaker), and the Bengals have Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City as four of their final seven games. Sense or urgency, plus playing at home, plus a good shot to stone Cedric Benson ??? that’s why I’m a Steeler man Sunday.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 13

Benji Says:

I too find it amazing that the Bengals are undefeated in the NFC North, but I’m not nearly as convinced that the Steelers have a “good chance to stone Cedric Benson.” What is your justification for that statement, Your Majesty? Benson has run well against every team he’s faced this season, including the Steelers in Pittsburgh when he rushed for 76 yards on 16 carries. That being said, I do think the Steelers will find a way to pull this one out…the Bengals can’t be this good, can they?

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 17

Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-3)

King Says:

Philip Rivers has gotten much love for his clutch throw to beat the Giants, and rightfully so. But the San Diego defense is finally well in the team’s three-game win streak, allowing 43 total points and only 13 of 42 third-down conversions. And Shawne Merriman’s awake. He sacked Eli Manning to end the game at the Meadowlands. If I were Donovan McNabb I’d feel better if I got Brian Westbrook back, to help with blitz pickup in this one.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 26, Philadelphia Eagles 13

Benji Says:

As long as the San Diego Chargers continue to start LaDanian Tomlinson’s reanimated corpse, I can’t pick them to beat two desperate teams in back to back weeks. Philip Rivers is a great quarterback, but he can only do so much when his running game is generating three yards per carry. The Eagles have the better, more balanced team and are getting starting running back Brian Westbrook back for “blitz pick-up” and much more…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 28, San Diego Chargers 20

Denver Broncos (6-2) at Washington Redskins (2-6)

King Says:

Why is it this close? Because the Redskins are exactly 1.4 total yards per game worse than Pittsburgh on defense. Washington’s going to give Kyle Orton multiple headaches Sunday.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 17, Washington Redskins 15

Benji Says:

Perhaps the “multiple headaches” comment was in poor taste, considering the fact that two top tier players (Washington’s Clinton Portis and Philadelphia’s Brian Westbrook) have left with concussions in Redskins games over the last three weeks? That being said, I agree with your prediction, Your Majesty, if not your analysis. Denver’s offense is suspect and Washington’s defense is surprisingly good. This one will be close…

Prediction: Denver Broncos 17, Washington Redskins 15

Atlanta Falcons (5-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-5)

King Says:

If I’m Jake Delhomme, I think I’d rather be running in the open field with three Falcons bearing down on me that taking my chances running out of bounds into the middle of a bunch of Falcons. That Atlanta sideline is a dangerous place to be.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 23, Carolina Panthers 20

Benji Says:

Why explain your prediction for a tight game between divisional foes when you can make silly jokes about a sideline altercation from a week ago? My take (I’m sorry that King doesn’t feel comfortable sharing his) is that the Falcons are in trouble here. The Panthers are running all over everyone right now and Atlanta’s defense is allowing 4.5 yards per carry. Also, quarterback Matt Ryan has been making some curious decisions as of late.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 28, Atlanta Falcons 20

Baltimore Ravens (4-4) at Cleveland Browns (1-7)

King Says:

Somewhere, Mike Holmgren will be watching.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 33, Cleveland Browns 9

Benji Says:

Somewhere, Benji Thurber will be watching…House.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 30, Cleveland Browns 6

King Says, Benji Says (Week 10 Early Edition)

November 12, 2009

OneOfUsIsJustABitMoreExcitedAboutBeingUpEarly

As you probably inferred from our photo shoot, I am ecstatic about the early return of Thursday Night Football. Who wouldn’t be excited about having to submit an early pick/watch a Thursday night game every week for the rest of the year? Certainly not the NFL, because an extra televised game on its own network would in no way help to fill the league’s coffers with additional revenue…

Chicago Bears (4-4) at San Francisco 49ers (3-5)

King Says:

If the 49ers are losing because they added a really good player, Michael Crabtree, to the lineup out of nowhere, then I would say the 49ers were a house made of toothpicks. Which is to say: I’m not buying they’re 0-3 with Crabtree because of Crabtree.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 23, Chicago Bears 13

Benji Says:

Exhibit A: A textbook example of an over-caffeinated football monarch’s propensity for inventing inane arguments solely for the sake of disproving them. No one…I repeat, NO ONE has implied that the 49ers’ recent struggles have anything to do with rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s insertion into the line-up. In fact, pretty much every sportswriter I’ve read has suggested that San Francisco’s passing game is better because he is a part of it. Does that mean that the 49ers are good? No, because their defense (particularly the secondary) has played at a much lower level than it did earlier in the year, and their quarterbacks (be it Shaun Hill or Alex Smith) have struggled to take care of the ball. The Bears look like a team going in the wrong direction though—they didn’t put up any sort of fight at all against Arizona until the Cardinals had already stopped playing. Extended garbage time points may count in the box score, but they are irrelevant to the discerning football observer…

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 30, Chicago Bears 17

King Says, Benji Says (Week 7)

October 23, 2009

LuckyThirteen

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)

Overall:

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

King Says, Benji Says (Week 6)

October 16, 2009

GoodVersusEvil

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)

Overall:

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