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: This is the day that we’ve been looking forward to since February 4th: Opening Day! It’s the kickoff of the 2013 NFL Season and this is our 2013 NFL Preview Edition. As we take you through this wonderful journey we will preview each conference, give our annual awards and make our playoff predictions. Let’s go!

Allen: I’m not going to waste time here. The official start to the NFL season has begun and we have a lot to discuss.

American Football Conference

Allen: It seems like it was only a few years ago when this was the premier division in football. It will remain competitive though, despite age catching up to the Steelers and Ravens. I’m expecting Cincinnati to get over the hump this year by winning the division and a playoff game. They have a top five defense in the league and have made strides in improving their offense. Giovanni Bernard and Tyler Eifert will bring much-needed playmaking ability to their stagnant offense. Despite the free agency losses, Baltimore still has a great front seven defensively and will lean on Ray Rice this season. They will manage to sneak into the playoffs. Pittsburgh won’t be as bad as some people predict, but they don’t have enough offensively to make the playoffs. They are going in the right direction by giving young players the chance to shine. This is more of a rebuilding year for them. Cleveland should be competitive this year and will surprise a few teams. This is a division that could be much better in 2014 as a whole.

Projected AFC North Finish:  

Cincinnati Bengals      11-5

Baltimore Ravens        9-7

Pittsburgh Steelers      8-8

Cleveland Browns      6-10

Ace: First I’m going to look at the AFC North. This will be a very interesting division because the defending World Champions are a part of it. While they lost some big names on defense, they replaced them with very solid players as well. Looking at their schedule I believe that they will be a 9 win team and contend for a Wild Card spot but ultimately I have the Bengals winning this division. They should be on pace for 11 or 12 wins and I can’t go against their solid defense and the one best young combos in the league of Andy Dalton and AJ Green. Here’s where one of my bold predictions that missed the cut come into play. I think the Cleveland Browns finish this division in 3rd place and 8-8. Pittsburgh is aging and without a solid running game, receivers and healthy tight ends, scorings is going to be difficult, but I feel their defense will keep them in many games.

Projected AFC North Finish:

Cincinnati Bengals      12-4

Baltimore Ravens        9-7

Cleveland Browns      8-8

Pittsburgh Steelers      7-9

Ace: The AFC South was a division that put two teams in the playoffs last season and I feel that they should do that again this year. The window is closing on Matt Schaub in Houston. I don’t think the window is closing on the team, but definitely Schaub. If he can’t get it done in the playoffs this season I would look for them to look at another AFC quarterback who’s had similar successes over his career…cough...Philip Rivers…cough. I’m high on the Colts as well who should be the wild card team. It’s crazy to think Andrew Luck is only going to improve off of his rookie season. This guy is a future MVP. Tennessee will be playing for third place and the Jaguars…well, they have nifty uniforms don’t they? They should be contenders in the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes!

Projected AFC South Finish:

Houston Texans          11-5

Indianapolis Colts       10-6

Tennessee Titans         5-11

Jacksonville Jaguars    3-13

Allen: This is still Houston’s division and that won’t change this year. The pick of DeAndre Hopkins should be very beneficial to their passing attack this year. Then they get Brian Cushing back, who was obviously missed last year. Once he tore his ACL, it seemed like Houston lost their edge defensively. With him back, I’m expecting the Houston defense to play like they did in 2011 and be a top five unit. The rest of the division is still pretty weak. Despite Andrew Luck’s success, there are still glaring holes on both of the ball in Indianapolis. With a tougher schedule this year and not making many upgrades defensively, they’ll go down a few notches this year. Tennessee remains to have a lot of question marks from Jake Locker being a franchise quarterback to Kenny Britt being able to stay on the field. We all know Jacksonville will be competing for the first overall pick.

Projected AFC South Finish:

Houston Texans          12-4

Indianapolis Colts       7-9

Tennessee Titans         6-10

Jacksonville Jaguars    2-14

Allen: The weakest division in football could be getting more competitive this year. Miami could be knocking on the door, if there offense can score enough points. The defense has so many play makers in Cameron Wake, Reshad Jones, and Darnell Ellerbe but the offense doesn’t have many game changers. New England won’t be scaring anyone this year, but they’ll still win the division as long as they make it an emphasis to run the ball more and their defense continues to make strides. If Danny Amendola can stay healthy all season, they could win more than ten games. The rest of the division is an absolute mess with the Jets and Bills having severe quarterback problems. Both teams have solid defenses yet are held back due to abysmal passing games. The Jets get a slight edge, due to a weaker schedule.

Projected AFC East Finish:

New England Patriots 10-6

Miami Dolphins          9-7

New York Jets            5-11

Buffalo Bills               3-13

Ace: The most talked about division in the AFC is the East starring the New England Patriots. It’s been a very interesting offseason for New England as they went from having the two best tight ends in football to having Zach Sudfeld starting Week One (most likely). That’s not a shot at Sudfeld; it’s just a comment on how different the Patriots receiving corp will look in 2013. I still can’t go against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick as long as they’re together. They should be the favorites. The sneaky team that people like are the Miami Dolphins. I think they should be a .500 team and maybe contend for a Wild Card spot if they stay healthy and Lamar Miller can carry the load as the feature back. The loss of Dustin Keller is a huge blow to the Fish because I was really high on him being a security blanket to Ryan Tannehill. The Buffalo Bills will be working with their rookie quarterback EJ Manuel once he’s healthy and he could be something they’ve been missing in Buffalo since…well, Jim Kelly…or at least Doug Flutie. When it comes to the Jets, see my comment above about the Jaguars. The Jets might actually be the favorite to land Clowney.

Projected AFC East Finish:

New England Patriots 10-6

Miami Dolphins          9-7

Buffalo Bills               5-11

New York Jets           3-13

Ace: The final division is probably the most predictable. This division is Denver’s to lose and barring numerous injuries, they won’t lose this division. So who comes in 2nd? The addition of Andy Reid will be one of the biggest moves of the offseason for any of the 32 teams in the NFL. Kansas City has had the talent, they just needed the right coach to put the pieces together. I think Reid needed a fresh start and I think he will do great. Kansas City will be one of my Wild Card teams. When it comes to the rest of the division, the Chargers are a 5 or 6 win team and I firmly believe Philip Rivers will not be the quarterback there next year. I think he’ll want out. Oakland will be joining the Jaguars and Jets as contenders for Clowney (Sidenote: If you start to hear ‘Contender’s For Clowney’, I said it first. I want my credit, ESPN!) . The top 3 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft may very well be coming from the AFC.

Projected AFC West Finish:

Denver Broncos          12-4

Kansas City Chiefs     9-7

San Diego Chargers    5-11

Oakland Raiders         4-12

Allen: This division couldn’t be duller. Nobody is going to come close to competing with Denver for the division title. Even with Von Miller’s six game suspension, I’m expecting them to have the division wrapped up by late November. The offense is close to unstoppable with the additions of Wes Welker and Montee Ball. Kansas City will improve, but they’ll fall short in making the playoffs. Alex Smith will be exposed for being every bit as average as he’s proved to be over his career. They don’t have enough weapons offensively to win nine games. I’m intrigued to see if Andy Reid actually uses Jamaal Charles to the best of his ability, since he failed to do so with LeSean McCoy. San Diego is in rebuilding mode and should look to develop young talent this season. Similar to the Jets, Oakland is in absolute disarray right now. Whoever is playing quarterback whether it’s Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor better be prepared to take a beating behind that horrendous offensive line.

Projected AFC West Finish:

Denver Broncos          13-3

Kansas City Chiefs     7-9

San Diego Chargers    6-10

Oakland Raiders         3-13

National Football Conference

Ace: The superior conference will start with the NFC West. Defensively, this might be the best division ever assembled and most balanced defensively since the divisions aligned this way back in 2002. The defending NFC Champions should be the favorite to win this division but I believe that the Seattle Seahawks are the team to beat to win this division. Offensively, Russell Wilson and company are going to improve but on the defensive side of the ball, the numerous additions, including one of my favorites, Cliff Avril, will undoubtedly make this team the favorite. San Francisco will still make the playoffs, but Colin Kaepernick will slowly get figured out and by putting pressure on him each game, they will decline a bit. I think they’ll win 10 or 11 games, but Seattle will win 11 or 12. Don’t sleep on the St. Louis Rams either. They’ll be the thorn in the side of those aforementioned teams. Last season I told diehard Rams fan John Canton that his squad would win 7 or 8 games and he doubted me! They are .500 for sure this year! The Cardinals are also improved but shouldn’t be too much of a headache to the teams in this division.

Projected NFC West Finish:

Seattle Seahawks        11-5

San Francisco 49ers    10-6

St. Louis Rams            8-8

Arizona Cardinals       5-11

Allen: If any team manages to score thirty points against any of these defenses in this division, then they’ll earn every bit of it. The defenses are scary in this division, particularly Seattle and St. Louis. Seattle was the biggest winner in the off-season and that should lead them to winning the division. The injury to Percy Harvin will hurt a bit, but the additions of Avril and Michael Bennett will be massive for their defensive line to go along with their elite secondary. Another reason why San Francisco won’t repeat as division champs is due to the loss of Michael Crabtree. He was Kaepernick’s go-to receiver last season and now isn’t expected to be back until late December. They’ll still make the playoffs, but the defense will have to carry them through some games. St. Louis will continue to improve, but they are still about a year away from the playoffs. The offense has so much potential, but there aren’t any stars or go-to players yet. In an extremely tough conference, the offense will go through some growing pains. While their defense is solid, Arizona’s offense is still among the worst in the league. Carson Palmer needs to get the ball out fast; otherwise he’ll take major punishment due to the Cardinals’ below average offensive line. They are right there with Philadelphia as the worst team in the NFC.

Projected NFC West Finish:

Seattle Seahawks        12-4

San Francisco 49ers     11-5

St. Louis Rams            9-7

Arizona Cardinals       4-12

Allen: America’s favorite division to talk about on a daily basis. It’s no longer the hardest division to play in; it will be who can ascend from the pack. I’m already counting out Philadelphia because they have one of the worst defenses in the league and an unstable quarterback situation. Chip Kelly may have some tricks, but he won’t be able to take a below average team to even seven wins. It’ll come down to the three teams that were in the hunt last year to win the division. Besides the return of star pass rusher Brian Orakpo, Washington didn’t do anything in the off-season to improve. They remind me a lot of Indianapolis without the weak offensive line. Still this is the NFC and Washington is going to take a step back this season, due to their defensive limitations. The division title will come down to New York and Dallas. It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about how Dallas will make the playoffs this year. I’m still confident in them to do so by winning the division. Depth is a concern, but they are the most complete team in the division. Their defense is very under appreciated and should be able to adjust to the 4-3 scheme. Meanwhile, the Giants defense doesn’t have their intimidating pass rush anymore and still didn’t make much of an effort to improve their secondary. As long as they don’t get hit with injuries like they did last season, look for Dallas to shut the pundits up.

Projected NFC East Finish:

Dallas Cowboys          10-6

New York Giants        9-7

Washington Redskins 8-8

Philadelphia Eagles     5-11

Ace: The NFC East is always my favorite division to talk about. (Insert Sarcasm) Last season Washington won 7 straight to win the division. I don’t think that will be the case this year. The Giants are my projected winners as I do see the Redskins falling off a bit. I do think they can be there if RG3 can be the same guy he was last season and the same goes to Alfred Morris. I am a buyer of what Chip Kelly is selling in Philly. He’s got some great talent to work with and I think that Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson will have big seasons. The controversial pick of mine is the Dallas Cowboys. I am not a buyer of the Cowboys. I don’t have faith in their team; I don’t think they’re a contender in the NFC, let alone the NFC East. This is a 6 win team, at best. Watch.

Projected NFC East Finish:

New York Giants        10-6

Washington Redskins 8-8

Philadelphia Eagles     7-9

Dallas Cowboys          5-11

Ace: Two divisions left and this is my buddy’s favorite division. I don’t see how Atlanta can lose this division, they’re head and shoulders above the rest of the teams. Don’t crown New Orleans as the 2nd place team as well. I’m a big fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being a sneaky contender for a Wild Card spot. Defensively I think they’ll be very good and I’m not sure why people are so low on Josh Freeman. Sure, his completion percentage was 54.8% last year, but he threw for over 4,000 yards, 27 TD’s and his INT’s we’re a little high at 17. This team has all the pieces to be at .500 or a little better. Finally, the Carolina Panthers. They could surprise some people but I expect them to be right around the 6 or 7 wins. It all hinges on whether or not Cameron Newton can embrace being a leader and what kind of poise he shows in defeat. Will he sulk and put a towel over his head or will he be with his offense trying to figure out how to get back in the game?

Projected NFC South Finish:

Atlanta Falcons                       11-5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers           9-7

New Orleans Saints                8-8

Carolina Panthers                    6-10

Allen: The best division in football will be filled with intense games. They may not steal headlines, but almost every game played in this division is competitive. I’m expecting Atlanta to repeat as division champions. They are too talented offensively to slip up too much, even though the schedule is too difficult to go 13-3 again. The defense has some big questions to answer, but Mike Nolan has proven that he can get the best out of any defensive unit. I’m buying into Tampa Bay and their improvements in the off-season. They made much-needed upgrades to their secondary with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. This is Freeman’s make or break year, after being inconsistent throughout his career. He’ll breakthrough this year and lead Tampa Bay into the playoffs. Sean Payton’s return will extremely help the offense this year and they should be able to score consistently. The defense has taken some major hits in the off-season and it’ll be just as bad as last year. This will be the year that they will realize that they can’t outscore teams on a weekly basis. Carolina should improve a bit, but a lack of passing options for Newton and a woeful secondary will hold them back for another year. Even though their front seven is among the best in the league, teams will still be able to have success throwing the ball on a consistent basis.

Projected NFC South Finish:

Atlanta Falcons                       12-4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers           10-6

New Orleans Saints                8-8

Carolina Panthers                    7-9

Allen: Green Bay doesn’t look quite as intimidating as they were last year. They’ve taken their hits on both sides of the ball, but still remain to be the best team in this division. I’m expecting the defense to improve, after getting annihilated by Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs. They’ve proven that they can win big games on the road, which will benefit them greatly compared to the rest of the division. Chicago doesn’t really do much to scare teams. The defense is older and the offense line is still among the worst in the league. If Matt Forte stays healthy, they could make the playoffs. A brutal schedule could very well be the thing that takes Minnesota out of the playoffs, besides their quarterback play. They have a talented roster, but nobody can deny that Adrian Peterson and the pass rush carried them into the playoffs. With stronger competition this year, Christian Ponder and the young secondary need to step up if they want to be a contender. I don’t see that happening for them. Detroit should improve from their 4-12 last season. Reggie Bush will make a huge impact in both the running and receiving game. Hopefully, he can take pressure off of Matthew Stafford, so he doesn’t have to throw over 700 passes again like last season. Other than the nasty defensive line, they have holes all over that defense. They could be a year away of making it back to the playoffs.

Projected NFC North Finish:

Green Bay Packers      11-5

Chicago Bears             9-7

Minnesota Vikings      8-8

Detroit Lions               7-9

Ace: Finally, saving the best for last, the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers have won the division and it’s hard to see another team overtaking them this season. They have improved their running game, offensive line and their defense. They have lost lineman Bryan Bulaga for the season but David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay have stepped in and performed quite well. Defensively, if they stay healthy they will improve. The Packers had the twelfth ranked defense last season but everyone forgot about that once Colin Kaepernick ran all over them in the playoffs. When it comes to the second place team, many folks have been clamoring for the Minnesota Vikings. Now, the Vikings could end up starting off hot but their schedule from Week’s 6 to 16 are pretty brutal and they will be lucky to finish .500, 7-9 is much more likely. The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions will fight for 2nd and 3rd place. I feel that Chicago has much more around both sides of the ball to compete for a playoff spot. Chicago should get a Wild Card spot and Detroit will finish with 7 to 9 wins.

Projected NFC North Finish:

Green Bay Packers      11-5

Chicago Bears             9-7

Detroit Lions               8-8

Minnesota Vikings      7-9

Annual Awards

Allen’s 2013 Award Winners

Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Ansah, LB, Detroit Lions

Coach of the Year: Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Ace’s 2013 Award Winners

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Defensive Player of the Year: Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Arizona Cardinals

Coach of the Year: Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

Playoff Predictions

The Ace’s Playoff Teams/Predictions

AFC Playoff Teams              NFC Playoff Teams

1. Denver Broncos                  1. Seattle Seahawks

2. Cincinnati Bengals              2. Atlanta Falcons

3. Houston Texans                  3. Green Bay Packers

4. New England Patriots         4. New York Giants

5. Indianapolis Colts               5. San Francisco 49ers

6. Kansas City Chiefs             6. Chicago Bears

In the AFC Wild Card Round I have the Texans knocking off the Chiefs and the Colts upsetting the Patriots. On the NFC side I have the Packers defeating the Bears and the Giants upending the defending NFC Champion 49ers.

Things are about to get controversial in the Divisional Round (When are they going to rename this round, by the way?). On the AFC Side, the #1 Seed will not fall this year, the Broncos will advance past Indianapolis and Bengals will meet Houston for the 3rd straight year in the postseason and be victorious. The Seahawks will be the #1 Seed in the NFC for the first time since they went to Super Bowl XL and they will defeat the Giants easily at home in front of the 12th man. It will be almost 3 years to the date but the Packers will come out slinging against the Falcons and take them down to advance to the NFC Championship game.

January 19th, 2014, Championship Sunday, in the AFC Title Game the Denver Broncos will host the Cincinnati Bengals and the Broncos will advance to their first Super Bowl since John Elway defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. In the NFC Title Game the Packers will play the Seahawks tough at home until Mason Crosby misses a two 4th Quarter Field Goals and the Seahawks defeat the Packers by 3.

Super Bowl XLVIII: It will be cold. It will be snowy. This game will benefit the team with the better defense and stronger running game. The Seattle Seahawks will defeat the Denver Broncos 27-23 in a classic!

Allen’s Playoff Teams/Predictions

AFC Playoff Teams              NFC Playoff Teams

1. Denver Broncos                  1. Atlanta Falcons

2. Houston Texans                  2. Seattle Seahawks

3. Cincinnati Bengals              3. Green Bay Packers

4. New England Patriots         4. Dallas Cowboys

5. Miami Dolphins                  5. San Francisco 49ers

6. Baltimore Ravens                6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The wild card will feature one major upset. The Bengals and Patriots should win their games handily. Baltimore doesn’t have enough offensively against Cincinnati’s elite defense. The same can be said for Miami, even though New England’s defense is nowhere near elite. In the NFC, the 49ers will beat the Cowboys due to their pass rush being in Tony Romo’s face all game long. My big upset is that the Buccaneers will go to Lambeau field and run all over the Packers. Doug Martin will have a big game and keep the Packers’ explosive offense off the field just enough for them to win.

For the divisional round, don’t expect any upsets in the AFC. The Broncos will be too much for New England offensively and will force a few turnovers to break the game open. In a defensive slugfest, the Texans make enough plays offensively due to a better running game and receiving options to beat Cincinnati. In the NFC, Tampa Bay falls just short and the Falcons prevail in a close game. A lack of pass rush will cost Tampa Bay against Atlanta’s potent passing attack. In another upset, Seattle’s offense sputters and the 49ers win a nail biter. The return of Michael Crabtree will be a huge difference maker, while Russell Wilson will be harassed all game long.

For the first time since 2009, the number one seeds will be in the Super Bowl. There won’t be any fluke loss for the Broncos this time around. Houston’s average secondary will get constantly beaten by the core of Thomas, Welker, and Decker. Then we’ll get a rematch from last year in the NFC championship. Steven Jackson proves to be the difference maker, as the Falcons will have a running game that they sorely lacked last season. This game will go back and forth, but Atlanta’s offense won’t sputter in the second half on their way to victory.

A rematch of Super Bowl XXXIII except this time it won’t be so one-sided. The result won’t change though, as the Broncos offense will be too much to handle. Atlanta’s questionable offensive line and mediocre pass rush will finally catch up to them. Peyton Manning wins his second Super Bowl and Denver’s aggressive spending finally pays off.

3 Bold Predictions

Allen’s 3 Bold Predictions

1. The Indianapolis Colts hype train gets derailed. I’m finding it pretty comical that some people are actually predicting to make it to the AFC championship. Eventually, a questionable running game, weak offensive line and shaky defense catches up to any team. With a tougher schedule, the Colts will have their problems this year. It’ll be a learning experience for many of their young players.

2. Golden Tate emerges as Russell Wilson’s number one option. With Percy Harvin out until at least late November, Tate will break out this year. His breakaway speed will be unleashed this year. Sidney Rice can’t stay healthy and nobody has really emerged in Seattle. Despite being five foot ten, Tate is one of the toughest receivers in the league to tackle and as a blocker.

3. Cincinnati’s defense will get their well-deserved recognition. This is going to be a top three defensive unit this year. The defensive line is going to be in the opposing quarterback’s face all day long with Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, and Carlos Dunlap. This is an aggressive unit that forces turnovers and doesn’t allow many long gains. When teams play them, expect it to be either a dogfight or to be physically imposed in defeat.

The Ace’s 3 Bold Predictions

1. The Dallas Cowboys will not win more than 6 games. They’ve got an easier schedule, so this should make me look like a fool. They’ve had the talent in place, despite some injuries, for the last few seasons but constantly under perform. Jason Garrett is as much of a leader as San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. As long as Jerry Jones is a General Manager this team will not have the successes they had in the 90’s.

2. Eddie Lacy will rush for 1,100 yards and 12 Touchdowns. Lacy has looked great when he was apart of the first team offense in Green Bay’s preseason games. Once he has the starting offensive linemen in blocking for him he will add an element that hasn’t been seen in Green Bay since Ahman Green. If he doesn’t reach those yards on the ground, I wouldn’t be surprised if Aaron Rodgers connects with him 30 or so times and Lacy’s all-purpose yards are higher than 1,100.

3.The 49ers will not win the NFC West, advance past the Divisional Round and Colin Kaepernick will regress this season. Sure, that’s 3 bold predictions in one, but I believe that San Fran will win 10 games and be one of the NFC Wild Card teams. I firmly believe that Kapernick will regress a bit. Let’s keep in mind, he started 7 games last year. He begins his first full season without his big playmaker, Michael Crabtree. His Touchdown to interception ratio will be close and he won’t exceed 3,000 yards passing.

Ace: We’ll wrap this up this week with our Weekly Picks. Next week the article will take its normal weekly shape after our bulky preview. I’m excited that in less than 10 hours the season kicks off with Denver/Baltimore tonight. My squad takes the field in just about 72 hours in what should be a great game! Check out our NFL Preview on Macho Men Radio from last night. As a reminder from last year, Allen defeated The Ace 62-34 to 58-38. Elite NFL Mind Challenge. (Note: The Ace picked the Ravens by 6 over the 49ers and Joe Flacco as MVP) So, I’m in it to win it this year! Here they are:

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

Ace: It sucks Baltimore couldn’t play this opener at home, I think Denver spoils the champs kickoff.

Ace’s Pick: Denver

Allen: Even without Von Miller, Denver should win this game without any worries. Baltimore’s young secondary is going to have a long night against Peyton Manning.

Allen’s Pick: Denver

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Ace: I think this will be a shootout. I’ll give the edge to the home team, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta wins either.

Ace’s Pick: New Orleans

Allen: If New Orleans didn’t lose Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Victor Butler, and Kenyon Coleman then I’d pick them. They lost a good chunk of their front seven and Atlanta will be able to run the ball this year. It’ll still be a shootout, but I can’t see Atlanta’s offense being stopped.

Allen’s Pick: Atlanta

Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears

Ace: Andy Dalton and AJ Green will have a big game as they spoil Marc Trestman’s debut.

Ace’s Pick: Cincinnati

Allen: Chicago’s offensive line will be going up against the nasty Bengals defensive line, which could get ugly. Brandon Marshall better be ready to catch nothing but slants and curl routes, if they want to win this game. Bengals will prevail though.

Allen’s Pick: Cincinnati

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Ace: The 49ers come out strong, Rodgers rallies and Phil Dawson kicks the game winner. The Ace cries.

Ace’s Pick: San Francisco

Allen: Can the Packers manage to lose to the same team three times in one year? Kaepernick struggles without Crabtree against an improved Packers defense. Rodgers does just enough to pull off the upset.

Allen’s Pick: Green Bay

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Ace: I don’t care who wins this game. I dislike the Giants less.

Ace’s Pick: New York

Allen: For the Dallas and New York fans, I’ll actually give you people a quick preview. The Giants don’t have a great pass rush anymore and their secondary is still among the worst in the league. Whatever quarterback turns the ball over less will likely lead their team to victory. Dallas’ defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves and will give Manning some problems. This could end up being a shootout, but Dallas is more of the complete team.

Allen’s Pick: Dallas

Allen: The off-season has gone for far too long. Football season is finally here and Sundays can get exciting again. This looks to be a stacked week one full of exciting games. I wish Monday night football had better games, but I’ve accepted the fact that Monday night football is more for allowing average teams to get some exposure to the national audience.

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