"Peter King knows football," reads the ad at the top of the page. The subhead for the article declares, "Bucs, Panthers will do anything to avoid 0-2 start." Well, anything short of winning, it seems. That's right, Peter King's Weekend Pickoff NFL predictions provide me again with the joy that only bad predictions made by an expert can. To wit:
Atlanta 14, Tampa Bay 3
PK's Pick: Tampa Bay 16, Atlanta 13. King writes, "You know how Jon Gruden is. The sky is falling, the world is ending, the entire planet will grind to a halt if we don't win this week. That's what he's telling his team this week. And I'm naive enough -- particularly with John Abraham's ouchy groin either limiting him or sidelining him -- to buy it."
I'd like to note here that Michael Koenen, Atlanta's kicker, went 0-4 on field goals, so the game wasn't really as close as 14-3. Perhaps he has what King calls an "ouchy groin." After the game, King was found in the NBC men's room hitting his head against the hand dryer and repeating over and over again, "Why am I so naive?"
Buffalo 16, Miami 6
PK's Pick: Miami 16, Buffalo 14. According to King, "I like the Bills a lot more than I thought I would. But if you think they're going to win at Nick Saban's house, after Saban limp-wristed the replay flag in the fourth quarter during the Pittsburgh loss and after the Dolphins have had three extra days to prepare, you're crazy."
See, if you predict the future accurately, you're crazy. And Sunday night, King went to Saban's house, where he screamed about Saban's "limp-wristed play calling." Saban responded by punching King in the face and instructing Daunte Culpepper to throw a football at King. Fortunately for King, the ball slipped out of Culpepper's hand.
New Orleans 34, Green Bay 27
PK's Pick: Green Bay 17, New Orleans 12. Still angry about the Saints winning in Week One, King writes of this pick, "I don't know why, really. I guess because this game, quite literally, is the Packers' season. They're at Detroit, at Philly and at Miami for three of their next four, and starting 0-2 at home would end any hopes they have of salvaging Mike McCarthy's rookie year."
Yes, Peter King knows football. I don't know why, really.
New York Giants 30, Philadelphia 24
PK's Pick: Philadelphia 19, New York 17. King writes, "I loved hearing Tom Coughlin the other day. Everyone's anointing the Giants as a very good team (me among them). He came out and said: Hey, you gotta win to be a very good team. Winning. Pretty important factor."
To King's credit, had he picked Philly to win at halftime, I would have agreed. This game will probably lead to Bill Simmons recalibrating his "Levels of Losing"--not that Simmons would rehash an old column because he's out of ideas. Hey, why's it quiet in here all of a sudden? Anyway, notice that King says absolutely nothing about the game. You know, everyone's anointing King as a football expert. Correctly picking games. Pretty important factor.
Minnesota 16, Carolina 13
PK's Pick: Carolina 23, Minnesota 20. King: "I have a bad feeling about the Panthers right now. Really bad. Dan Morgan's fifth concussion, Maake Kemoeatu looking like a turnstile against the Falcons' run game, Travelle Wharton out for the year, necessitating Jordan Gross' move from right to left tackle. But John Fox will be Grudenesque this week. It's must-win time."
Why isn't King reading the first things he writes before making his pick? Again: "I have a bad feeling about the Panthers right now. Really bad." At least he was right about John Fox being Grudenesque.
San Fransisco 20, St. Louis 13
PK's Pick: St. Louis 20, San Fransisco 13. Man, he almost had that one perfect. King writes, "Talked to Scott Linehan the other day. What a cool cucumber. Raved about two of the best leaders he's seen in the league: La'Roi Glover and Corey Chavous. They might be pretty good."
What do cool cucumbers do? They rave. Chavous' stats? One tackle, assisted. Glover's? Zero tackles. Yes, they might be pretty good.
So all in all, King didn't pick so badly; just six losses (I'm writing this before the Pittsburgh/Jacksonville game is over, so there could be a seventh loss; it's an exciting 0-0 halftime tie as I write). But when he's off, man, he's way off. Seriously, though, seriously: he's got an ouchy groin.