NFL Q&A with Allen and The Ace is a weekly Wednesday column featured on TJRsports.com. Allen and The Ace are big time NFL junkies and are Falcon and Packer fans, respectively. Each week the guys will ask questions and TJRsports.com editor-in-chief, John Canton will also ask a question for both guys.

The Ace: I don’t want to turn all Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on this but finally…the NFL has come back for football fans! We’re exactly one week away from the Giants hosting the Cowboys to kick off the 2012 NFL Season! Last week was our final preseason article. This week will have a slightly different format. Both Allen and I will reveal our AFC and NFC standings and we will discuss them. We will also cover playoff predictions and award winners. I broke down each of the 32 teams schedules and decided every win and loss in a rather mind-numbing Microsoft Excel sheet.

Allen: The time is also near everyone and I couldn’t be more excited. While you did a mind blowing Microsoft excel sheet, I used my sporting news fantasy football magazine when game-by-game. It was difficult as always but you get through it by using your brain more than your heart. If I used my heart, the Saints would have gone 0-16! That is why you common logic, facts, and face the reality of expectations of our respective teams. Ace knows his Packers are amongst the favorites to win the Super Bowl while my Falcons need to win a playoff game for once. Without further or do, we give you our season preview and that’s the bottom line because Allen Stevens Austin said so! (I couldn’t contain myself).

Ace: What can I say? I’m an Excel Snob. Here are my projected 2012 American Football Conference standings:

AFC North

y-Baltimore Ravens 12-4

x-Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5

Cincinnati Bengals 7-9

Cleveland Browns 3-13

AFC South

y-Houston Texans 12-4

Tennessee Titans 8-8

Indianapolis Colts 4-12

Jacksonville Jaguars 2-14

AFC West

y-Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

x-Denver Broncos 9-7 

Oakland Raiders 7-9   

San Diego Chargers 6-10

AFC East

z-New England Patriots 13-3

New York Jets 8-8

Buffalo Bills 6-10

Miami Dolphins 4-12   

x-Wild Card, y-Division, z-Conference

Ace: Personally, I think the AFC should be a pretty easy conference to pick. The AFC South and AFC East are the two divisions that will produce the division champions, and that’s it. The New England Patriots and the Houston Texans could very well be the top two seeds in the playoffs. Tennessee was 9-7 last year, I think they take a step back record wise, but a step forward in the quarterback department with Jake Locker. They could contend, but I think they’re a few defensive additions away from contending with the Texans. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in disarray. Blaine Gabbert may or may not be the answer, if he’s not, and my records are accurate, they could have the #1 Overall Pick next year and might go the route of a Matt Barkley from USC. I can see both sides to the Maurice Jones-Drew holdout. He is their franchise and wants to be rewarded after seeing other feature backs get paid (Adrian Peterson, $100 Million) Shad Khan is a new owner who knows Jones-Drew has a current contract and expects him to fulfill it. The Colts want to continue the success they had under Peyton Manning with Andrew Luck and I think they will, just not this season. They should double their win total from last year and in a few years, should be relevant again. When it comes to the AFC East, I can’t buy into a team that’s biggest offseason acquisition is a terrible backup quarterback. I think the Jets have a very good defense and an average offense. I’m no math whiz, but combining the two gives you an average team, that’s why I have the Jets at 8-8. Buffalo is on the right track, but they need to stay healthy and who knows which Ryan Fitzpatrick will be out on the field, the Fitzpatrick of the first half of the season or the second? Buffalo could surprise a lot of people, but I’m not behind them yet. The Miami Dolphins are…well, they were on Hard Knocks and have you seen rookie QB Ryan Tannehill’s wife? Go ahead and Google her. With all that said, this should be a cakewalk for Tom Brady and Company. If the New England Patriots don’t win this division by more than 3 games, then I’d be worried about the Patriots.

This should be the last season we see both the Ravens and Steelers come out of the AFC North. Both teams are getting older and there’s a hungry Cincinnati team nipping at their toes. (Settle down, Rex Ryan) Cincinnati made the playoffs last season; I don’t see them making it this season. Would I be surprised if they knock out Pittsburgh or Baltimore? Not at the least. If Cleveland can make some big splashes in the free agent market on defense and rookie’s Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon can all be successful, the future is bright in Cleveland. The division with the biggest free agent signing belongs to the AFC West. People forget that two years ago the Kansas City Chiefs were a hot young team. Last year, they started off 4-3 then lost 5 of 6 and coach Todd Haley was fired. The team rallied around interim head coach Romeo Crennel and knocked off the perfect Green Bay Packers and won 2 of 3 under Crennel. The team finished with 8 guys on season ending Injured Reserve including quarterback Matt Cassel, running back Jamaal Charles and strong safety Eric Berry. I think that this team playing for a coach they like along with healthy bodies is a formula to their success. A lot of the ‘experts’ are anointing the Denver Broncos the division champions and sending them all the way to the AFC Title game. They added Peyton Manning and subtracted Tim Tebow which we all know, but wrap your head around this. Last season, 2 of their 8 wins were by 7 points or more. Their other 6 wins were by 4 points or less; three of the wins were in overtime. In reality, this was a five-win team last season. Adding Manning should improve this team by 3 or 4 wins, which by my calculation keeps them right around .500, maybe a game above. Oakland should be in the mix; they’re a gritty team and could try to spoil the playoff hopes of Kansas City and Denver. New GM Reggie McKenzie needs to keep a head coach for more than a season to see what happens when Dennis Allen has an entire offseason to work with his team. (What up, Tom Cable?) The more I watch San Diego play, the more I fear that Norv Turner will not be coaching a year from now. They have the talent, but they’ll just disappoint. Turner is my pick at most likely coach to be fired.

Allen: Here are my projected 2012 American National Conference standings.

AFC North

y-Baltimore Ravens 11-5

x-Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6

Cincinnati Bengals 8-8

Cleveland Browns 2-14

AFC South

y-Houston Texans 11-5

Tennessee Titans 6-10

Indianapolis Colts 5-11

Jacksonville Jaguars 2-14

AFC West

y-Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

x-San Diego Chargers 9-7

Denver Broncos 8-8

Oakland Raiders 5-11

AFC East

z-New England Patriots 14-2

Buffalo Bills 8-8

New York Jets 7-9

Miami Dolphins 5-11

Allen: The AFC seems weak compared to the mid 2000’s when you had so many teams competing. You would need at least 10 wins just to be in the discussion to be in the wild card. Now there is a level of the Patriots, Ravens, and Texans then everyone else. The Patriots are going to dominate as usual this year with their easier than usual schedule, a much improved defense, and the addition of Brandon Lloyd which will give the Patriots a deep threat that they were sorely lacking last year. Based on the rest of the division, Buffalo seems to be improving steadily but they were a team that needed “moves” not just one move. Mario Williams won’t put this team over the top alone and Buffalo still has some flaws defensively. They’ll improve with C.J Spiller and Fred Johnson becoming a dangerous duo. They’ll surprise some people and have some shining moments this year. The Jets are a walking train wreck that doesn’t seem to have much potential. They’ll always be in the mix because the defense will always keep them in most games but the offense is so brutal that they won’t even end up at .500. Miami will likely end up in the cellar but they are rebuilding the right way. The defense has always been underappreciated and Ryan Tannehill seems to have a lot of promise. Miami still doesn’t have enough stars but they are in the right direction after getting rid of Chad Henne, who failed at being the franchise quarterback in Miami.  The AFC South is very predictable with Houston being far better than the rest of the teams in the division. Houston will get a 2nd seed based off a head to head win over Baltimore in my predictions. Tennessee and Indianapolis are in the right direction of rebuilding. Luck and Locker both have shown loads of potential that will be seen this year. Tennessee could be better than advertised with their scrappy style but they seem to be missing a few playmakers on each side of the ball. Jacksonville is going to compete for the 1st pick in the draft & you’ll hear more about them playing in different cities than on the field.

The Ravens will win their division by a game over Pittsburgh to claim the 3rd seed even though Pittsburgh will still make the first wild card spot. Both teams are starting to age but they still have enough left in the tank. This is a make or break year for the Ravens with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed likely heading into their last years. Pittsburgh doesn’t seem as strong as the past few years, but they always seem to get the job done when it matters to just make the playoffs along with creating a new star or two every season. The Bengals are going to hit with a tough schedule but unlike the Bucs, they aren’t going to completely implode. The Bucs had a great 2010 season taking advantage of a weak schedule but they imploded like everyone witnessed last season. The Bengals will have a much difficult schedule but this team is too strong to implode. The defense is very underrated despite the lack of stars. The offense needs a few more playmakers but young stars like A.J Green and Jermaine Gresham will make this team a threat. They’ll fall short of the playoffs but this team is built to succeed. The Browns will continue holding down their cellar spot like they have been for a while now. The last division is the AFC West, which is very unpredictable. I’m happy that some people are jumping all over the Broncos bandwagon. You have them for the wild card, while I think they’ll flop. The schedule difficulty will be high and I’m not convinced that Peyton Manning will last 16 games. I’m not convinced Willis McGahee can maintain his success from last season along with a defense that only has three stars in Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller, and Champ Bailey with everyone else mostly average or below average. Denver is going to be exposed and it will be in a non-playoff season. My pick to win the division and claim the 4th seed will be the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City may not hog up the headlines or be a “flashy” pick but they are going to surprise teams. With a favorable schedule and players that you mentioned returning to 100 %, they will bounce back and become tough to beat. The last wild card is the San Diego Chargers, which don’t seem to be popular these days. Even with all the heat on Norv Turner, I think San Diego is another team that will sneak up on people. With the lack of talented teams in the AFC, the presence of Rivers and the breakout season I expect from Ryan Mathews will be just enough. They will start off slow as usual, but their usual late season run will push them back into the playoffs. Oakland has been improving but the Carson Palmer trade is going to hit them hard this year. I expect him to fall off and possibly even lose his job by mid season. Oakland will go 5-11 and will look to draft a quarterback next season.

Ace: One thing that I thought about too is the lack of power in the AFC. You mentioned you’d need at least 10 wins to get in the playoffs in the mid 2000’s. Heck, in 2008 New England was 11-5 and did not make the playoffs! Our contrasting predictions of San Diego is pretty realistic, they’re either going to barely get in the playoffs or they’ll completely flop, no one knows! Here are my projected 2012 National Football Conference picks:

NFC North

z-Green Bay Packers 13-3

x-Chicago Bears 10-6

Detroit Lions 8-8

Minnesota Vikings 5-11

NFC South

y-Atlanta Falcons 11-5

New Orleans Saints 9-7

Carolina Panthers 6-10            

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13   

NFC West

y-San Francisco 49ers 11-5

x-Seattle Seahawks 10-6

St. Louis Rams 4-12

Arizona Cardinals 3-13

NFC East

y-Philadelphia Eagles 11-5

New York Giants 9-7

Dallas Cowboys 9-7

Washington Redskins 7-9

x-Wild Card, y-Division, z-Conference

Ace: The division with the most controversy in this past offseason is the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints have lost head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season and will be coached by Aaron Kromer and Joe Vitt this season. New Orleans is very talented but I think losing Payton will be tougher on the team than people think. You might be able to cut the head off by taking out a quarterback, but the brain lies within the head coach. The good news out of that division will be the Atlanta Falcons. They have the best 1-2 punch of wide receivers in the NFL in Roddy White and Juilo Jones. It finally looks as if they will be a pass first team, which will be major factors in their success. Carolina is getting there, and in a year or two, they’ll be contending for wild card berths and division championships. If Cameron Newton (I love calling him Cameron) continues the rest of his career like his first season in the NFL, he’ll be considered one of, if not the greatest running quarterback of all time. A healthy defense and weapons for Newton will determine exactly what this team needs to do to take it to the next level. Tampa Bay is another story. Two years ago they make a playoff run, and everyone is on the Josh Freeman bandwagon, and you’re right, last year they absolutely flopped. This year, I think they’re right between the last two years of play. Carl Nicks protecting Freeman will be huge, and I’m interested to see what Dallas Clark has left in the tank. Moving to the NFC East, I feel that Dallas is over hyped every year and produce mediocre results. The Giants are the defending champions, and while I respect that fact, another fact is that they’ve never been able to put together a consistent season. Over the last four seasons, through the first 8 games they’re a combined 24-8 (6-2, 6-2, 5-3, 7-1) and over their final 8 games they’re 15-17 (3-5, 4-4, 3-5, 5-3). They put together a great stretch and won the Super Bowl last season, but it’s hard to think they will do that this year when Philadelphia got hot towards the end of the season last year. They addition of DeMeco Ryans is a huge anchor to the middle of their defense, I love that pick up. They’re the division champs in my book. The future is bright in Washington, after years of mediocre quarterback play; Robert Griffin III has energized the fan base and the organization.

The first of two divisions that I believe will produce multiple playoff teams is the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers have a much more difficult schedule this year, I think they lose a few more games, but still win the division. The big surprise of the NFL this year, I believe will be the Seattle Seahawks. I think they have the tools to improve on their past two seasons at 7-9 and give the 49ers a scare, but still make the playoffs. St. Louis was a huge offseason winner by acquiring a bevy of picks from Washington over the next few years to move up to obtain RGIII. Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins will improve a lackluster secondary from last season. Also look out for wide receiver Brian Quick. Sam Bradford should be targeting him frequently, and why not, he’s got the perfect name. Another coach I have on the hot seat is Ken Whisenhunt from Arizona. If they don’t solve their quarterback problem, they’re going to finish at the bottom of the division. It might be time to wash your hands of Kevin Kolb. The NFC North could potentially have three teams make the playoffs, but I think only two will prevail. The Green Bay Packers should wrap up the best record in the conference, but I believe that the wild card team coming out of that division will be Chicago, not Detroit. I’m not saying last season for Detroit was a fluke, but I think Chicago is a more mature and well-rounded team. Detroit has that explosive offense, but they have a young and immature defense. Chicago’s defense is experienced and mature, that will be the deciding factor. There’s a lot of huff coming out of Minnesota about the Vikings being a competitive team and surprising a lot of people. The only surprise, in my mind is which AFC South team will they lose to in the first two weeks, Jacksonville or Indianapolis (my money is on Indy). They played it smart and drafted Matt Kalil to protect Christian Ponder and block for Adrian Peterson. I just think that this team doesn’t have any talent, aside from Jared Allen on defense and when you play Detroit, Green Bay and Chicago twice a season, you need to be stacked with linebackers and defensive backs. I would be shocked if Minnesota doesn’t go 0-6 in the NFC North.

Allen: Here are my projected 2012 National Football Conference standings

NFC North

z-Green Bay Packers 14-2

x-Chicago Bears 11-5

Detroit Lions 9-7

Minnesota Vikings 5-11

NFC South

y-Atlanta Falcons 11-5

New Orleans Saints 9-7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9

Carolina Panthers 6-10

NFC West

y-San Francisco 49ers 12-4

Seattle Seahawks 7-9

Arizona Cardinals 6-10

St. Louis Rams 5-11

NFC East

y-New York Giants 10-6

x-Philadelphia Eagles 10-6

Dallas Cowboys 8-8

Washington Redskins 5-11

Allen: Similar to the Patriots, the Packers will be the unstoppable force in the NFC. People seem to forget that they were so dominant in the regular season because of their implosion in the playoffs against the Giants. The defense will be better than last year’s horrendous defense and the chemistry can only get better with Rodgers & his core of receivers. Another team that will bounce back from injuries last season will be the Chicago Bears, who will get the 5th seed. With Brandon Marshall reuniting with Jay Cutler, that is going to be a deadly combo. The veteran leadership especially on the defensive side of the ball will prove to be crucial compared to the Lions, which seem to average four personal foul penalties a game. They are unstable and they will fall back to earth especially with a tougher schedule this year. They’ll manage to win nine games but their secondary issues and being too one-dimensional offensively will cost them. Minnesota will be in last place and might have to get used to that spot. The team is lacking in just about every aspect offensively and defending other than running the ball. It’s going to be a long season in Minnesota playing in the toughest division. The 2nd seed will be the San Francisco 49ers, which will not fall off like some predict. They do have a harder schedule but let’s not forget they play in the NFC West. They still have the best defense in the league and with more weapons for Alex Smith to throw too; they will run away with the division. Seattle is going to be interesting to watch and could pull off some upsets. The NFC is pretty difficult but Seattle is going to be around as a possible dark horse to sneak into the playoffs. Arizona and St. Louis will be among the worst teams in the NFC. Arizona has massive quarterback issues along with the defense being average at best. St. Louis is in the running for worst offense in the league and still has major issues going forward.

The 3rd seed will be the team that needs to get over the hump is the Atlanta Falcons. If there was a year that the division is there for the taking, it has to be this year. With all the issues in the Saints, Atlanta has to be the clear favorites. I’m not counting out the Saints but many things have them against the wall. The offense will still be among the best but the loss of Sean Payton and an even weaker defense will really hurt the Saints. The schedule doesn’t do them any favors while Atlanta has upgraded with new coordinators and Asante Samuel joining the team. Everyone knows how good Atlanta’s offense is but with an improved defense under Mike Nolan, Atlanta will be a notch better than New Orleans. New Orleans will miss out due to the lack of evolving while many teams in the NFC have really improved their team. I’m shocked you picked Tampa Bay to do poorly this season considering how much new talent they signed. The defense isn’t that great but they have a lot of weapons and could surprise people. A weak schedule plays into so much stock on how a season goes and that’s where the Bucs will win more than people think. Carolina seems to be getting a lot of press but they still need major improvement defensively. The offense could also use some more receivers especially if Steve Smith begins to age. People should watch their expectations with the Panthers because they could implode instantly with their lack of depth. The NFC East is last and as usual, all the teams in the division beat each other up which makes one of them the 4th seed. People seem to be down on the Giants but I’m not on that bandwagon. Giants still have the most devastating pass rush and an elite duo with Victor Cruz & Hakeem Nicks.  They will repeat as division champions thanks to a Week 17 win over the Eagles. The Eagles will make the playoffs though as the 6th seed. Even though it’s risky with Michael Vick’s injury issues, they have too much talent not to make it. Philadelphia can go from being the biggest threat in the NFL to being irrelevant with how hot and cold some of their players can be. I’ve said it a few weeks ago but if they don’t make the playoffs, I could see Andy Reid getting fired. The remaining teams are going to be inconsistent as usual. Dallas can prove people wrong but they are too inconsistent and seem to have too many mental breakdowns. If Dallas can finish games, they would have ran away with the division last year. I’m not a Jason Garrett believer and it could lead to a possible firing. Washington has some buzz going into the season for once and could shock a few teams but they are going to need a year to gel. It seems too unstable in Washington but they are definitely headed in the right direction.

Ace: We seem to agree on a lot of the same issues. Who’d of thought I’d put Green Bay at 13 wins and you at 14? There will be some very bad teams in this conference, and we seem to agree on most of them. The way I have it set here is the playoff seeding for both conferences:

AFC                                       

1. New England Patriots               

2. Houston Texans                      

3. Baltimore Ravens                  

4. Kansas City Chiefs                 

5. Pittsburgh Steelers                  

6. Denver Broncos                      

NFC

1.Green Bay Packers

2.Philadelphia Eagles

3.Atlanta Falcons

4.San Francisco 49ers

5.Chicago Bears

6.Seattle Seahawks

Ace: Here are my playoff predictions. First, the AFC Wild Card round, Baltimore will defeat Peyton Manning and Denver to move on to face Houston. Kansas City will put up a fight, but Pittsburgh will move on to face the defending AFC Champion, New England Patriots. In the NFC, Atlanta will defeat one set of birds and move on to face another set of birds in Philadelphia and Chicago will upset San Francisco to move on and face for the 2nd time in 3 years in the playoffs, division foe, Green Bay.

In the divisional playoff round I have the top two seeds in the AFC moving on, New England will defeat Pittsburgh and Houston will get revenge one year later on their home soil to defeat Baltimore and reach their first AFC Championship game. On the NFC side, Atlanta will go into Philadelphia and win on a last second field goal to pull the upset. The battle of the black and blue division will go to Green Bay as they reach their 2nd NFC Championship game in 3 years by defeating Chicago.

Sunday, January 20th is the day of the AFC and NFC Championship games. The first game of the day will be Green Bay hosting Atlanta. The last time the two teams met in the playoffs, Green Bay destroyed Atlanta 48-21. I don’t think this game will be a blowout, but sorry Allen, same outcome. Green Bay defeats Atlanta 27-17 en route to their 2nd Super Bowl in 3 years. In Week 14, New England hosts Houston (I have New England winning) less than 2 months later, Houston returns and stuns the fans at Foxboro 24-21. Houston moves on to their 1st Super Bowl in franchise history.

Super Bowl XLVII takes place from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It might feel like a home game for the Houston Texans who face the Green Bay Packers. Houston fans will travel 354 miles straight east on Interstate 10 to watch their team lose to the Green Bay Packers, 34-27. Green Bay will win its 5th Super Bowl Championship, 14th NFL Championship and more importantly Aaron Rodgers will win his 2nd Super Bowl MVP and double his ring total over Brett Favre.

Allen: Here are my playoff seeding’s and predictions for both conferences.

AFC                                                   

1. New England Patriots            

2. Houston Texans                  

3. Baltimore Ravens                

4. Kansas City Chiefs               

5. Pittsburgh Steelers               

6. San Diego Chargers             

NFC

1.Green Bay Packers

2.San Francisco 49ers

3.Atlanta Falcons

4.New York Giants

5.Chicago Bears

6.Philadelphia Eagles

Allen: In the wild card rounds, you’ll hopefully have more competitive games this year. The wild card was a dud for the most part last year other than Tebow magic against the Steelers. I see a classic defensive, hard hitting, and gruesome game between the Chiefs & Steelers. I’m really concerned about the Steelers offensive line against the Chiefs but I just can’t see Matt Cassel making enough plays against the Steelers defense so Pittsburgh will sneak by with a win. The other game will have Baltimore in a dominating win over the Chargers. Baltimore is going to be in another gear with Ray Lewis & Ed Reed possibly playing in their last game. San Diego won’t stand much of a chance especially with their weak run defense. In the NFC, Chicago is going to be a problem for teams but their offensive line doesn’t stand a chance against the Giants. Pass rush becomes a huge factor and Chicago ran into the wrong matchup. New York will prevail by winning the turnover battle with a game breaking play from one of their top receivers. Then the big show down with Atlanta and Philadelphia with Michael Vick coming to Atlanta again and going home with same result from last season. In an instant classic game with the possibility of a shootout, Atlanta wins with Vick turning the ball over in a critical moment. He could also get injured like last time, but regardless I have more faith in Matt Ryan than Vick.

In the divisional playoffs, New England will beat Pittsburgh in a close game that will break open in the end. Pittsburgh’s defense won’t be able to contain them enough and Pittsburgh will be too beat up as usual to go any longer so New England wins. I’m a big fan of what Houston is doing and their going to be a force to be reckon with for years to come but Baltimore is in now or never mode. Baltimore will win by making Matt Schaub beat them & he won’t have the weapons to help him out. The game will be very low scoring so brace for big hitting and lots of running. In the NFC, we got a rematch between the Giants and Packers. It will be a different result this time with the Packers defense much improved and their receivers actually catching three passes in a row. Green Bay will win and could possibly pull away by the 4th quarter. The last game will be between the 49ers and Falcons where I just can’t see Atlanta winning. If there is any weakness in the Falcons offense, it’s the offensive line. With San Francisco pass rush; it could be similar to the Giants game where the offense will struggle to get going. I’m not saying they’ll score 2 points (oh god no!) but they will have more time. It will be a close game but San Francisco’s defense and ball control will get the San Francisco through.

In the championship conference games, where there wont be a Falcons-Packers game thankfully because I couldn’t take nine months of Ace rubbing it in (he’s still bringing up the 2011 game!). The rematch from last season in the AFC will have the Patriots and Ravens with the same result. Ravens will fall short again but it won’t because of a field goal. The addition of Brandon Lloyd works wonders in this game spreading out the field to give Brady more to work with. New England wins by the score 30-17 and that leaves the Ravens likely losing their two defensive captains. In the NFC, Green Bay will return to the Super Bowl by the score of a 28-20. It will be a very enjoyable game but the play making ability of Aaron Rodgers to evade the pass rush and find holes in any secondary will be the difference.

The Super Bowl is finally here and it’s a very common prediction although you took Houston. Similar to Atlanta in 2010, Houston will realize that they will need someone to throw to other than Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. Anyway the game will be the clash of the greats and I’m expecting a lot of points. It will get to the point of where which defense steps up and possibly even a running game to open the field up even more. New England seems to have more weapons right now and moving to a 4-3 defense will be a good move for them. Jones and Hightower are going to be great additions for a defense that desperately needed them. New England finally wins after years of disappointing when it matters most. They will win 35-31 and Ace probably won’t be social for about a week. The Q & A column with Allen and The Ace will be probably me contacting Packer fans on how their feeling right now. Sorry for the spoiler folks, I just want you to be prepared that I’m likely going to be doing a solo act after the Super Bowl.

Ace: Haha…I’d rather it be a giant blowout with the Packers losing so I could get over it quicker. If it’s a close loss, I’ll be devastated for a while. The Patriots seem to be the team to beat in the NFL according to most. I’m okay with that prediction.New England’s defense is probably a tad better but we’ll wait and see. We’ve talked 2012 Regular Season, made our playoff picks it brings us to the end, the 2012 Post Season Awards. Here are my picks for six categories:

NFL Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Offensive Player of the Year: Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings

NFL Coach of the Year: Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs

Ace: It’s hard to think that anyone is more valuable to his team than Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady is my second choice for the MVP, but I think as staggering as Rodgers numbers were last year, they should be even better this year. It wouldn’t be crazy to think that Arian Foster can eclipse Chris Johnson’s NFL record of 2,509 yards from scrimmage record, but it’s very possible. He finished last year with 1,841 and he missed three full games. If he’s anywhere close to the record, he’s the winner of Offensive Player of the Year. Patrick Willis has made the Pro Bowl all 5 years he’s been in the NFL. This year, he steps up and plays big on defense; he’s a lock for Defensive Player of the Year. Andrew Luck will do something Peyton Manning didn’t, win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Harrison Smith will be starting from day one. Any rookie on defense starting from day one will have the advantage to win Rookie of the Year. He’s looked impressive in Viking preseason games and if he wins it, Vikings GM Rick Speilman will look like a genius for trading up to get him. Lastly, the Coach of the Year award goes to Romeo Crennel of Kansas City. His team rallied behind him last year and this year he has to show why they rallied behind him. If they stay healthy and win the division, its Crennel’s to lose. I threw together a few awards that the NFL doesn’t hand out, but I would. Enjoy!

The Les Steckel One and Done Coach Award: Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders

The Ryan Leaf Award for the Biggest Draft Bust: Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs

The Brian Westbrook Porcelain Award for Biggest Fantasy Bust: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

The ‘We want Kurt Warner to Come Out of Retirement’ Award: Larry Fitzgerald & Michael Floyd

The Plaxico Burress Crotch Award for More Off Field Problems: Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans

The 2011 St Louis Rams Award for Best Potential and Failed Expectations: New York Jets

The Brett Favre Cell Phone Award brought to you by Croc’s: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

Allen: The made up awards were a nice chuckle. I’ll take a crack at picking some of the odd awards along with the usual shenanigans that the noble Roger Goodell lets us choose from.

NFL Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Barron, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Coach of the Year: Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears

I’m picking Aaron Rodgers over Tom Brady for the simple fact that NFC is better than the AFC. Tom Brady will win offensive player of the year so he’ll get his yearly award as usual. The 49ers will have the best defense and I’m expecting teams to do all they can to double team Jared Allen so I’m going to have to take Patrick Willis. I’m also a big believer in Andrew Luck and I think he’ll put up better numbers than Robert Griffin. I’m shocked you didn’t take Russell Wilson since you seem to be big on the Seahawks. The defensive rookie of the year will be different though because Mark Barron looks like the next big safety to look out for. He’s going to be learning from a great player in his own right Ronde Barber and it will help that he has a better supporting cast than Harrison Smith. For my coach of the year, I’ll go with Lovie Smith for leading Chicago back into the playoffs although Romeo Crennel is a great pick. Now its time for the entertaining awards that have as much legitimacy as the Dundee Awards.

The Les Steckel One and Done Coach Award: Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders

The Ryan Leaf Award for the Biggest Draft Bust: Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs

The Brian Westbrook Porcelain Award for Biggest Fantasy Bust: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

The ‘We want Kurt Warner to Come Out of Retirement’ Award: Justin Blackmon & Laurent Robinson

The Plaxico Burress Crotch Award for More Off Field Problems:  Nick Fairley, Detroit Lions

The 2011 St Louis Rams Award for Best Potential and Failed Expectations: Carolina Panthers

The Brett Favre Cell Phone Award brought to you by Croc’s: What does this even mean? I’m going with Roddy White because he’s my favorite player in football.

That is all for my predictions. I’m very confident in those picks and think most of those that come true. The only one I’m really sketchy on is the Chargers but I’m confident that Rivers will shut the critics up again. Other than that, this is a meaningless week in football in terms of games. Well except Jets fans because apparently they can’t score a touchdown in preseason. Anyway other than that, the last batch of preseason will finally end and next week will be the start of the best twenty-one weeks of the year even though usually its eighteen because the Falcons are out by then and I’m heartbroken but nevertheless, I’m super excited for the season to start.

Ace: It was a genitalia joke, Allen. ‘Most likely to photograph their own genitals while wearing Croc’s’. Glad your favorite player will be doing that, what a nice role model! Kidding! Now that the predictions have been made on my radio show and here in print, we’ll either look like we’re on something or onto something. I’ve had a ton of fun writing about the NFL in the preseason and now that the regular season kicks off in 7 days, I’m getting more excited to discuss real football. Along with our normal questions and format, next week Allen and I will start our season long ‘Great Football Mind Challenge’. We will each list five games and must predict the winner. The best record at the end of the season will win a metaphorical pat on the back. We’ll catch you next week!

You can follow Allen on Twitter @Allen_strk and The Ace @TheAce18.

If you have any question ideas please tweet us and we will consider your questions for next week’s article.