NFL Q&A with Allen and The Ace is a weekly 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 discuss the previous week’s games along with picking the Top 5 Games of the Week!

You can follow Allen on Twitter @Allen_Strk and The Ace @TheAce18

Ace: There are two weeks left in the regular season and this is the time of year, where games get more and more exciting with more and more on the line! Right now only four teams have clinched playoff berths, the Seahawks, Colts, Broncos and Chiefs. The Colts are the only team that has clinched a division championship. I went 2-3 on my picks last week, although nailed the two picks I absolutely needed and that was Green Bay and Baltimore. Detroit won’t make the playoffs and it’s something that I’ve been saying for weeks now. The Cowboys are on the ropes too, if Philly wins out, they’re in. I’m hopeful Aaron Rodgers will be in the lineup this coming Sunday as the Packers will have two meaningful games and the end of this season is becoming very reminiscent of the 2010 Super Bowl season. I’m also looking forward to being in two fantasy football championship games, it would be three but Jamaal Charles and Dan Bailey did me in. How do your fantasy teams look?

Allen: Once again, I’ll say it again that Matthew Berry can bow down to me. I’m in three championships out of six leagues with two other teams being eliminated because the Oakland Raiders clearly don’t know who Jamaal Charles is. You know he’s the player you have to stop and still allow five touchdowns? Charles is the only dangerous player in that offense, yet it seemed like they didn’t even set up any game plan to stop him. That’s my mini rant, along with a few other rants based on the stupidity of this past week in football. Some real questionable play calling and execution was on display last weekend. It’s mind boggling how some coaches are still employed.

Ace: Justin Tucker connected on six field goals in the Baltimore Ravens Monday night win against the Detroit Lions. The moved the Lions from first place to third place, where both the Bears and Packers control their own destiny.

Who is at fault for this monstrous collapse in Detroit, players, coaches or both? Do you see Jim Schwartz going into 2014 as the Head Coach?

Allen: It has to fall on the offense based on their lack of execution. How can you blame the defense? They held the Ravens out of the end zone, which is the best you can ask for from a great front seven but below average secondary. When you have Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson in your offense, you expect to score more than 24 points a game. The current Ravens defense is nowhere near as good as it was years ago. The secondary is exploitable, while the pass rush is severely inconsistent. This was a great matchup for Detroit to make a statement and they flopped in a major way.

Matthew Stafford deserves to be criticized heavily, after overthrowing several receivers and looking like a rookie against the blitz. He’s a good athlete, why he doesn’t use his athleticism more baffles me. When he’s on his game, Stafford can be a top ten quarterback. When he’s off, you see his mechanics fall apart and he starts to overthrow his receivers, which leads to turnovers. That was an embarrassing performance for a “franchise quarterback” in a must win game. Even though he dropped a few passes, you are insane to blame Calvin Johnson for the loss. He is essentially Detroit’s passing attack and has carried them to at least three wins this season.

Detroit isn’t out yet; so calling it a monstrous collapse is a bit overboard. Chicago and Green Bay have games this week against good opponents. Detroit gets to take their anger out on the lowly Giants. It seems highly unlikely that they will make the playoffs and that should lead to Jim Schwartz’s exit. That doesn’t mean I agree with the decision, I’m simply making a prediction based on what Detroit’s expectations were. Schwartz was on the hot seat this year and needed his team to play in January. He’s not the problem though, more receiving weapons and better cornerbacks is what this team is sorely lacking. In a passing league, those are flaws that can’t be hidden.

NFL Story of the Week

The Dallas Cowboys led the Green Bay Packers 26-3 at halftime on Sunday and ended up losing 37-36. Who deserves the most blame from Dallas’ collapse against Green Bay from last Sunday? Is it the defense, Jason Garrett, or Tony Romo?

Allen: The clear answer would be to blame all three parties in the epic collapse. I’ll lean towards the defense more for simply falling apart. What happened to the aggressive unit in the first half that were forcing Matt Flynn into third and long situations? In the second half, they couldn’t touch him while Eddie Lacy began to run all over them. It’s hard to understand how a defense can crumble in one half, after playing stellar in the first half. Even as a Falcons fan, who witnessed the same issue occurring in two straight playoff games last year. It’s unexplainable on how defenses fall apart, after playing so well in one half.

It couldn’t be more obvious that Dallas has zero faith in DeMarco Murray as a lead back. As talented as he is, if they had faith in Murray then they would have given him the ball 25 to 30 times. He is injury prone and the coaching staff seems worried that he’ll be injured at any moment. That’s still no reason to stop running the ball in the second half. If they don’t believe in Joseph Randle or Lance Dunbar, why didn’t they pick up a veteran running back like Willis McGahee or Brandon Jacobs? Once again this is another poor decision by Dallas’ management. Then they have Miles Austin taking valuable snaps away from Terrence Williams and Cole Beasley, when Austin adds nothing to the offense anymore.

As a loyal Tony Romo defender, it’s hard to defend him despite once again putting up flashy numbers. If you watched the game closely, Romo underthrew and overthrew Dez Bryant on three potential touchdown plays. Bryant was abusing Sam Shields all game long, yet they couldn’t connect on a deep touchdown to end the game. Even when Romo hit Bryant deep once, it was underthrown and Bryant had to adjust to make the catch. Green Bay’s pass rush was completely non-existent, so there wasn’t any excuse for Romo to miss those throws downfield. There are far more issues in Dallas than Romo, but he played an integral role in their collapse.

Ace: You forgot one, ‘Matt Flynn Channeling His Inner Aaron Rodgers’. I’m just kidding. I think all three deserve the blame. Let’s start with Jason Garrett. Sure, your team is up 26-3 at halftime on a Packers team that could not stop the run in the first half. I’m not sure if because the lead was so large, they had no respect for Matt Flynn or if the Packers they decided to watch the opening segment to Saturday Night Live in the locker room. Who could blame them? John Goodman was the host. So what do you decide to do with your game plan against a team that can’t stop the run, Mr. Garrett? You stopped feeding DeMarco Murray. Murray had 113 yards rushing in the first half and followed that up with 17 yards in the third quarter and four yards in the fourth quarter. Unacceptable. I don’t understand why that made you change your game plan that way, but when you’ve got a running back that’s on pace for over 200 yards, you don’t stop giving him the ball.

Coaching was a big part of the problem from the offensive game plan listed above and defensively they couldn’t stop Matt Flynn and Eddie Lacy. My favorite part of the Cowboys inability to shut down Green Bay was that on the final drive was that when Garrett was asked about it, he said Romo changed the play that he had originally called! You cannot throw your quarterback under the bus like that. Here’s the drive before Romo threw his first interception.

1st and 10, 4:17 left- Romo incomplete intended for Dez Bryant.

2nd and 10, 4:09 left- Romo sacked by Mike Neal. Timeout #1 Packers

3rd and 12, 3:57 left- Romo pass complete to Dez Bryant for 13 yards

1st and 10, 3:02 left- Murray up the middle for 4 yards. Timeout #2 Packers

2nd and 6, 2:58 left- Romo intercepted by Sam Shields.

They managed to burn one minute and 19 seconds off the clock until Romo was picked off. You’re telling me that those were the right plays to be calling? After Murray ran for four yards, you should have ran the ball again forcing the Packers to burn their final timeout. After that you could of gotten the game clock down to about 2:10 seconds before punting. Instead, the Cowboys threw the ball, and not only was it an interception, it was an interception in Dallas territory. That forced Dallas to burn through their timeouts. I wouldn’t say that it was Tony Romo being Tony Romo. It was terrible coaching being terrible coaching.

Allen: You have to take off your Packers hat for this one. The ongoing debate for the past few weeks has been who will be the offensive rookie of the year between Keenan Allen and Eddie Lacy.

Who’s your pick right now?

Ace: This is a tough one. Both guys have had tremendous rookie campaigns, here’s a comparison of their stats:

Lacy- 248 carries, 1,028 yards, 8 touchdowns, 31 receptions, 236 yards.

Allen- 63 receptions, 931 yards, 7 touchdowns 14.8 YPC

I’ll make a case for both guys. First is Keenan Allen. One man that has benefited from the success of Keenan Allen is Philip Rivers. After a tough 2012, Rivers has over 4,000 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and nearly a 70% completion percentage. The Chargers were a team that many predicted to finish with 3-6 wins and finish last in their division, that’s right, last behind the Raiders. Allen is having one of the best rookie receiving seasons since 2003 where Anquan Boldin (101 rec. 1,377 yards 8 TD’s). San Diego has been a pass first team since LaDanian Tomlinson left and Allen has a heck of a quarterback throwing his way. The Chargers are in the wild card race right now due to the Rivers/Allen combination.

When the Packers drafted Eddie Lacy in April, I jumped up from my couch and was incredibly stoked to see them grab a top of the line running back. I made the bold prediction earlier this season that Lacy would outrush Adrian Peterson (AP leads Lacy by 193 yards. Lacy has missed almost two games and AP missed one). It’s not as ridiculous as it once sounded but let’s look at his season more closely. Before Aaron Rodgers went down, Lacy gave the Packers offense a new dimension that it hasn’t seen since Ahman Green was the running back. It’s the first legit power back that Aaron Rodgers has worked with since Marshawn Lynch when they were at Cal. Since Rodgers went down on November 4th, Lacy has averaged 105.7 total yards per game with five touchdowns.

Allen has been an incredible asset to the Chargers offense and Lacy has been a new dimension to the Packers offense, while keeping them in games down the stretch, including the win over Dallas. It is much easier for running backs to step in and have great seasons. Just look at last years’ rookie class Doug Martin and Alfred Morris. I’ll give the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year to Keenan Allen but by a very close margin. It’s much more rare to see this success in the receiving game in a rookie season than by a running back.

Elite NFL Mind Challenge

We each were right on two games last week. I must brag a little bit because the two games I was right on were the two I was hoping I would be right on (Green Bay and Baltimore) Like I said, we both went 2-3 last week. I maintain my 1 game lead at. I sit at 47-26 and you are 46-27.

The Ace’s Picks

Indianapolis Colts (9-5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

The pressure has been put on Denver in a big way. If they drop any of their last two and Kansas City wins out, Denver suddenly drops to a wild card spot. Kansas City gets to host the Colts and travel to San Diego to end the season while Denver faces Houston and Oakland. I would assume that the Denver schedule is easier than Kansas City, but who knows. As for this game, I see Kansas City winning this, as their defense will prove to be too overpowering.

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints (10-4) vs. Carolina Panthers (10-4)

The loss by New Orleans proves to be a huge one as the Saints are much more different team at home than on the road. This is a road game that I think Carolina will win late. Carolina takes over the NFC South and the second Seed with their final game of the season at Atlanta.

Winner: Carolina Panthers

New England Patriots (10-4) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Baltimore went into Detroit and held the high-powered Lions offense to 16 points. The Ravens got hot at this point last season and while there are massive differences between the two clubs, I think this will be the win they need to put themselves into the playoffs.

Winner: Baltimore Ravens

Arizona Cardinals (9-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (12-2)

I’m a big fan of Arizona, but I’m also a bigger fan of Seattle at home. Simple, Seattle defeated Arizona at home 56-0 last year and got me 44 defensive fantasy points. Two different teams

Winner: Seattle Seahawks

Chicago Bears (8-6) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)

I’m genuinely excited for this game. If the Packers lose to Pittsburgh earlier in the day, all Chicago has to do is win the game, and they will be close to a division title. I don’t think their defense is very good and I think Philly is in a horrible mood after being embarrassed on the road at Minnesota. The NFC North will be decided Week 17.

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Allen’s Picks

Indianapolis Colts (9-5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

We get an early preview for a game that will be played in two weeks. Both teams seem locked into their seeds, so there is some intrigue to this game. Indianapolis lacks spark right now without Reggie Wayne. Some of their young receivers have stepped up, but the lack of a running game and an overmatched offensive line is too much to overcome against good teams. That will prove to be the case here. Hopefully their defensive game plan is to stop Jamaal Charles, since he’s the only offensive player that they have who should scare you.

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints (10-4) vs. Carolina Panthers (10-4)

New Orleans is incapable of playing two bad games in a row. I’m a bit concerned about their road woes, but this is still Drew Brees’ team. Carolina’s secondary is still a liability and Brees will exploit that again. For all the praise Luke Kuchley gets, he has been beat quite a bit in recent weeks. This is a game, where Carolina realizes that they need one more explosive playmaker. The right side of the offensive line has been a disaster in recent weeks, so look for Cameron Jordan and Junior Gallette to have big games once again.

Winner: New Orleans Saints

New England Patriots (10-4) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Baltimore has New England’s number and they rarely lose at home. Those are two generalities that I can actually believe in. It’s hard to pick Tom Brady to lose two in a row, but a lack of a consistent running game and a shaky secondary is going to be too much to overcome once again. Aqib Talib can’t be at 100 percent, because he’s been getting burnt repeatedly for the past few weeks. They may want to consider in resting him because he’s a liability out there.

Winner: Baltimore Ravens

Arizona Cardinals (9-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (12-2)

Arizona is such a feel good story. Why can’t they move to Connecticut, so they can win the NFC East? It’s a shame that they are likely going to fall here. Carson Palmer is bound to turn the ball on multiple occasions. Seattle’s pass rush is going to be harassing him all game long and Palmer tends to force the ball too much into coverage. That’s a bad idea against the ball-hawkers in Seattle’s secondary.

Winner: Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears (8-6) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)

This will ultimately be a shoot out, since both defenses have been struggling all year long. I’m leaning towards Philadelphia because they are bound to hand the ball off to LeSean McCoy at least 25 times against Chicago’s soft front seven. Still it’s hard to see how Philadelphia can stop Chicago’s high-powered offense. In the end, Julius Peppers forces a game changing turnover and Chicago pulls out a hard fought victory.

Winner: Chicago Bears

Allen: This week’s schedule looks stacked. I’ll be glued to New Orleans-Carolina and Arizona-Seattle for sure. It’s great to see the NFC show why they are the best conference once again. The conference is full of talented teams, where the wild card teams would be in contention for their second seed. San Francisco and Carolina look to be in much better shape compared to New England and Cincinnati. It’s just a shame that the Monday night game has to be an absolute dud. I apologize in advance to those who have to watch it for some reason. They should have a viewer discretion is advised slogan, before televising the rematch of the NFC championship game. You heard that right folks, the Falcons-49ers played 11 months ago for a trip to go the Super Bowl. That actually did happen. Good luck in your fantasy football championships as well. Hopefully you don’t lose because of a kicker like 11,000 people did according to Matthew Berry.

Ace: I'll be glued to the Packers/Steelers game at 3:25. Regardless of the quarterback for the Packers I believe that they can defeat the Steelers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. I do think Rodgers needs to be back for the following Sunday to play the Bears, presumably on Sunday Night Football. Although, NBC loves the NFC East, so I won't doubt that the Eagles/Cowboys will be flexed to SNF. Two more weeks of the regular season and it's getting to be quite emotional seeing as it seems the season just started yesterday but after this weekend we'll only have 8 more days with football! Lots of Green Bay Packers talk with my buddy Chris (@olbagofdonuts) on Macho Men Radio this week. Enjoy Week 16 and Go Pack Go!

You can follow Allen on Twitter @Allen_Strk and The Ace @TheAce18

You can hear The Ace on Macho Men Radio with C-Mac every Tuesday night on BlogTalkRadio at blogtalkradio.com/machomenradio