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: Week Eight is beginning and for most teams after this week will mark the midway point of the season. Some teams are on pace to make the playoffs, some teams are on pace to miss the playoffs and some teams have some work to do to avoid missing the playoffs again. Peyton Manning is on pace to break several single season passing records. There are other records on both sides of the ball that are on pace to fall. My favorite team has turned it around and won three straight. They face a team that played like absolute hot dead garbage on Monday Night Football, the Vikings. Your club is riddled with injuries but could still right the ship, it will be tough though!

Allen: I’m still trying to recover from watching that horrendous Vikings-Giants game. I’m not sure what we did to deserve that as hardcore football fans, but that was deadly. I had to watch highlights of the Broncos-Colts game three times, just to remind myself of how football should be played. Anyway this continues to be a wacky year as usual, especially with all the injuries. I don’t think I’ve seen this many injuries occur to star wide receivers in one season. There are still receivers out there in Josh Gordon and Hakeem Nicks that need a place, where they’ll be appreciated. It’s time to ship them to Indianapolis or even Baltimore for that matter. Let’s get into the questions.

Ace: There are two winless teams (Jacksonville and Tampa Bay) and a pair of one win teams (Minnesota and the New York Giants).

Who will be the first NFL Head Coach to be let go from his team and what teams do you think will be in the market for a new head coach in the offseason?

Allen: I’ll be shocked if it’s not Greg Schiano. The players’ looks like they quit on him from what I saw last Sunday against the Falcons. There are still players playing hard like Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy, who are the leaders of that defense. It comes down to the body language and the absurd amount of penalties each game. Penalties have always ruined team morale, because it shows a lack of discipline and may lead to players not believing in one another.

Tampa Bay needs to move on from Schiano right now. There is nothing that you can get out of him at this point. They may as well rebuild and develop young players for this season. Lesile Frazier would be my next pick, since Minnesota came into this season with playoff aspirations and there is always heat on Frazier. When you have Adrian Peterson and the offense only scored 17 points in the last two games combined, something is drastically wrong.

Mike Zimmer would be the first coordinator to look at, if I’m searching for a new coach. Their will always be rumors about Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, but let’s be realistic and ignore the big names. Zimmer is a no-nonsense coach, who has made Cincinnati’s defense into one of the most fearsome units in the league. How he doesn’t have a job yet still shocks me. Lovie Smith deserves another chance as well. His failures in Chicago were more on the team than his actual coaching ability. Minnesota or Tampa Bay would love to have someone like Smith, who’s had success before and is a players’ coach. You won’t see a locker room disband with Smith coaching the team.

NFL Story of the Week

There were so many major injuries on Sunday. What injury was the most damaging to their respective teams’ future?

Ace: If we’re looking at the future of this season I would go no farther than the Chicago Bears losing quarterback Jay Cutler for at least four weeks and linebacker Lance Briggs for six to eight weeks. Not only are they losing both guys who are extremely talented, both guys are figured to be leaders on both sides of the ball. I still think they will be okay on defense. Chicago takes advantage of mistakes made by their opponents on defense but losing Cutler might drop them in the standings.

I think the Rams losing Sam Bradford for the season will make the organization think about whether or not he is the right guy for the future. He has suffered injuries in the past, but this team has loads of talent on both sides of the ball. Their running game might not be what it once was, but they’re going to need a leader and with Bradford out, who will step up? I had the Rams at 8 or 9 wins this season and if they were to get to that position, I would have slated them as a playoff team next season. Right now, I think 8 wins will be a bit of stretch and their playoff hopes for next season might have been shot too.

The Jermichael Finley injury was a scary one. I’ve been hard on Finley over the last couple of years due to his inconsistent play, but this season I have been as big of a Finley fan as anyone. He’s seemed to have turned it around and been playing with a different fire and intensity. He suffered a concussion earlier this season against Washington and his son told him he didn’t want him to play football anymore. As I said on Macho Men Radio this past Tuesday night, I would not be surprised if Finley doesn’t play football again. He’s got a wife, kids and has made quite a bit of money in his few seasons in the league. I would think after losing feeling in your hands and legs that you might reconsider your choice of playing football. I hope he comes back, but I wouldn’t blame him if he doesn’t.

Allen: Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford are obvious choices, but they weren’t going to go far in the playoffs if they even made it. St. Louis and Chicago have too many flaws to pose a serious threat to the top teams in the NFC. It has to be Reggie Wayne without a doubt. Indianapolis may trade for a top receiver like I said above, which they should because their wide receiver corps lacks depth. This is still a major loss for them, since Wayne is the other main leader besides Andrew Luck.

It will be almost impossible to replace him, because he’s always been so reliable. You rarely saw him drop a catchable pass or run the wrong route that led to an interception. Wayne was reliable as they come, that’s what makes his injury the most detrimental to a team’s future for this season. St. Louis and Chicago don’t have much of a future this season, regardless of injuries or not. Indianapolis has beaten the top two teams in the league this season. This team was ready to challenge for a Super Bowl.

In terms of who would be the better fit, I’ve always liked Gordon over Nicks. I’m aware of Gordon’s off the field issues and could be suspended for an entire season if he fails another drug test. He seems focused to me and has looked hungry ever since he’s come back from the suspension. Nicks’ hasn’t look motivated in the past few weeks, although who can play him playing for a terrible team. His history of injuries is another reason why teams may shy away from him.

Jim Irsay wants to win now, which is the right move because Andrew Luck is ready to lead his team for a deep playoff run. Gordon is more explosive and has better hands than Nicks. He doesn’t have the injury history like Nicks does as well. That being said, Nicks seems more expendable right now than Gordon in terms of trade value. It should be easier for the Colts to acquire Nicks with the emergence of Ruben Randle in New York. There isn’t a drastic difference between Gordon and Nicks. They are both playmakers, but Gordon has more upside.

Allen: Chicago is already starting to get exposed a bit. The defense is starting to decline as expected and now Jay Cutler will miss at least a month.

What adjustments should Chicago make to stay afloat?

Ace: Defensively Chicago will be without another leader in Lance Briggs after the retirement of Brian Urlacher. Their guys need to step up and play big. No matter who they lose, they are always tough on defense and find ways to take advantage of mistakes and turn interceptions or fumble recoveries into touchdowns.

On the offensive side of the ball the game plan should be simple: Get Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall involved as much as possible. Forte has been tremendous this season and he needs to get the ball 25 times a game to establish a pace and control the clock. Whoever they decide to put in to fill Jay Cutler’s shoes will need to find Brandon Marshall. Marshall will be a great asset to the quarterback and Martellus Bennett can be used as a security blanket.

The Bears should consider themselves lucky that Cutler is out about four weeks. They are on a bye this week so they can rest the whole team and get them healthy and the following three games go as follows: at Green Bay, vs. Detroit and vs. Baltimore. I would think that the focus will be getting Cutler back by the time they hit the road for two in a row against St. Louis and Minnesota. It will be tough after they lose two big names on each side of the ball.

Elite NFL Mind Challenge

Last week you went 4-1 as I went 3-2 to take a 1 game lead on me. You sit at 23-12 and I am 22-13. Here are this week’s picks!

The Ace’s Picks

Dallas Cowboys (4-3) vs. Detroit Lions (4-3)

Tony Romo and Dallas need this game more than Detroit. Once things go pear-shaped for Dallas, they seem to struggle. Clearly this is their division to lose, but I don’t think Detroit can do enough.

Winner: Dallas Cowboys

Miami Dolphins (3-3) vs. New England Patriots (5-2)

If this was at Miami, I would pick the Dolphins but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick do not lose multiple games in a row. They’re going to be pissed off and ready to improve to win number six.

Winner: New England Patriots

New York Jets (4-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

I have a feeling that the Jets will hang around for the first two to three quarters and then Cincinnati will hit a big play on defense and they’ll take control and move on with the win.

Winner: Cincinnati Bengals

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

This game will be close, and I know Allen will probably have some heart problems during it but I do think Atlanta is good enough and will get out of Arizona with a win, keeping their hopes alive.

Winner: Atlanta Falcons

Green Bay Packers (4-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

I put this game on here because it’s a rivalry game and they are generally close. I have a feeling that this won’t be the case here. I started off Macho Men Radio this week asking if the Packers could get two Vikings head coaches fired in 1,070 days (Brad Childress) by destroying the Vikings at home. I have a feeling that Aaron Rodgers and company will win by 3 scores. 38-10 is a score I’m envisioning.

Winner: Green Bay Packers

Allen’s Picks

Dallas Cowboys (4-3) vs. Detroit Lions (4-3)

Everyone knows that I’ve been praising Dallas all year, which they have deserved. I’m still a believer in them, although this week is an exception. This isn’t a good matchup for them with their average offensive line and DeMarco Murray possibly not playing again this week. They are too one-dimensional without him and that will gives the Lions’ defensive line many opportunities to harass Tony Romo. Calvin Johnson against Brandon Carr should be a really fun matchup, with two of the top players at their respective positions going at it. Dallas will have no answer for Reggie Bush and that will be the ultimate difference maker.

Winner: Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins (3-3) vs. New England Patriots (5-2)

I couldn’t agree more with The Ace. If Miami was at home, I’d like their odds a lot more. You can’t pick against Tom Brady though in a huge divisional game. Danny Amendola and Aqib Talib are supposed to come back, which is essential to their team’s success. This may be a blowout.

Winner: New England Patriots

New York Jets (4-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

I’m not sure if the Jets are legit, but they are going to be in the hunt right to the end of the season. This is a bad matchup for them though going up against one of the top defensive lines in the league. The offensive line has struggled all season and Geno Smith still needs to work on his pocket awareness. They won’t have an answer for A.J Green either. It’ll be competitive early on, but Cincinnati should pull away like Ace said.

Winner: Cincinnati Bengals

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

If Arizona’s offense were better, I’d take them instantly. The offense is holding them back from competing for a wild card spot this season. The offensive line is horrendous, running game is non-existent, and Carson Palmer is turning it over at an alarming rate. Atlanta’s offensive line isn’t much better, but Matt Ryan has proven he can still play at a high level without a good offensive line. He’ll get it done once again and should get a major boost with the return of Steven Jackson.

Winner: Atlanta Falcons

Green Bay Packers (4-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

Why are we picking this game? Everyone knows what’s going to happen. I’m hoping Adrian Peterson actually has running room, so there will be something entertaining and competitive. I still want to believe in Josh Freeman, but he couldn’t have looked any worse on Monday night. Even with all the injuries in their receiving corps, Green Bay will run away with this game. The Vikings’ secondary couldn’t stop Donald Driver at this point.

Winner: Green Bay Packers

Allen: The schedule this week couldn’t be more brutal. There are far too many one-sided games, especially the primetime games. I’m pretty sure most people aren’t clamoring to see Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and St. Louis on primetime games. Other than Detroit versus Dallas, it’s really tough for me to get excited for any games this week. It’ll be painful to see Atlanta go up against John Abraham, who is my favorite defensive end of all time. Hopefully he doesn’t dominate like I expect him to. Hopefully next week provides better games, because it’s hard to be positive about this week’s schedule.

Ace: We’ll be back next week to analyze all things in the NFL. In Two weeks we’ll have our mid-season recap and take a look at some of our predictions and picks and see who’s smart and who is not. Thanks to my pal Allen for joining C-Mac and I on Macho Men Radio this past Tuesday night, it was a fun show. Check it out here! Enjoy the slate of mediocre games and the Sunday Night Matchup with Aaron Rodgers facing whoever has a pulse and can wear the number 1 through 19 and lineup under center. As of Thursday morning it's Christian Ponder. I have a buddy who is so confident in Ponder that he is starting him in his fantasy football lineup over Tom Brady. That's right, Ponder over Brady. I think it's fair to say that his season is over, and Ponder's will be soon. Go Packers!

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