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: How much fun was that? That was the first Sunday until February 9th, 2014 that will feature NFL action. I don’t even want to think about that awful day, but I enjoyed what I saw this past weekend. My Packers lost in San Francisco to the defending NFC Champions by 4 points. There was some good and some negative to take away, but it was much closer than I thought it was going to be. I’ll give myself a pat on the back after I went 4-1 in my five fantasy football leagues. My only loss came to a guy who had Demaryius Thomas and that Peyton Manning guy.

Allen: It was a very enjoyable week showing how much the NFL has turned into a passing league for the most part. A few of my surprise playoff team picks shined like the Dolphins and Cowboys, while the Buccaneers faltered to the lowly Jets. This wasn’t a good week to pick favorites if it came to picking against the spread. We saw teams like the Eagles, Chargers, and Titans shine when nobody expected them to win or even stay competitive. One of the main reasons why football is my favorite sport is based on how unpredictable it can be. This week was full of unpredictable moments, except the Falcons once again losing to the Saints in New Orleans. Some things never change.

Ace: One Game I followed closely this weekend, mostly because I live in the state of Minnesota was the Vikings/Lions game. In the first half the Lions made so many mistakes but the Vikings never capitalized on them and the Vikings only led by 1 at halftime. Their offensive line was horrid and Christian Ponder could not move them up and down the field. Despite drafting Ponder, I don’t think GM Rick Spielman will sink if Ponder fails but I do believe that head coach Leslie Frazier is tied to the success of Ponder. If this team fails to crack .500 with Ponder as the quarterback I do not believe Frazier will be back.

Barring an injury, will Christian Ponder be the starter of the Minnesota Vikings when they come off of their bye week to face Carolina Week 6?

Allen: Ponder will still manage to be the starting quarterback by week six. It might not be because of quality of play, but the schedule will favor him. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are two teams that may be tough defensively, but should be games that he does just enough to help the Vikings win. Despite Ponder’s struggles, the Vikings have given him a solid supporting cast. They have provided a top receiver in Greg Jennings, a great prospect in Cordarrelle Patterson, and a safety blanket in Kyle Rudolph. Also it does have to feel luxurious to know that the best running back in the league is right behind you on most plays.

I’m going to keep my eye on Ponder, as the weeks go on. If he can limit his turnovers, there is no reason why he should be benched. Isn’t he supposed to be more of a game manager rather than a quarterback that you want throwing 35 times a game? Not to mention, do Minnesota fans realize Matt Cassel would have to play if Ponder were to be benched? If they actually think Cassel is the answer, then they haven’t watched him play in the last two years.

Ponder is more athletic and can stretch the field more with his arm. Even though his recklessness frustrates fans, I’m sure they will be immediately frustrated by how Cassel is conservative and takes too many sacks. They need to give Ponder more than just four weeks to prove himself as a starter. When they play Carolina in week six, I’m expecting the Vikings to be 2-2 and Ponder will be under center. The addition of Cassel was just to put pressure on him to improve. We’ll see by November if the plan actually worked or if they need to go the desperation route and use Cassel.

NFL Story of the Week

One of the biggest question marks coming into the season was how Chip Kelly’s innovative offense would work in the NFL. Monday night they raced out to a 33-7 lead. Even though Washington came back to try an onside kick to possibly try to take the lead, Philadelphia looked like the better team. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson looked like the weapons that they were to be used as. After Week One, seeing what we saw from the Eagles, will they contend in the NFC East this season?

Ace: I didn’t watch too many Oregon Ducks football games when Chip Kelly was the coach, but he was known for a high paced offense that was very high scoring. Last year the Eagles were dealt some big blows with injuries to guys like Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, three guys who came up big on Monday night.

They had 30 plays ran in the first quarter on five drives. Five drives in the first quarter. That’s almost unheard of. Kelly said on Tuesday that he thought they played a little slow. He demand perfection and I believe he’ll be one of the few college coaches that will be a success in the NFL. His offenses might change the NFL. If we thought we saw some big numbers before, just wait.

I love that he gets to work with Vick, McCoy and Jackson, all three guys had huge games and DeSean Jackson was wide open several times and Washington had no idea what to do. I was lukewarm on the Eagles coming into this season. I felt they had the talent to be improved but wasn’t sure how Kelly’s offense would translate in the NFL. After watching that first game, and yes, it’s their first game with that system, I can see them being a 10 win team. They should be in the mix in the NFC East throughout the season. Dallas, Washington and New York have some tougher games this weekend, Philly gets San Diego and they could be sitting atop the NFC East by Sunday night. I’m very excited to watch this team.

Allen: I’m far from convinced that the Eagles can actually win the NFC East. It was incredible to see Jason Peters and Lane Johnson line up at wide receiver at one point, along with other unique formations. Nobody can deny that this team will be entertaining this year and will likely outdo my prediction of going 5-11. That being said, there are still many red flags on both sides of the ball

Even though the Eagles kept him mostly clean on Monday night, Michael Vick still managed to get hurt at one point in the game. He is an injury waiting to happen with his reckless style. Chip Kelly used him efficiently on Monday night using read option plays to spree LeSean McCoy into the open field. Eventually teams will focus more on McCoy and challenge Vick to beat him, whether it’s with his arm or feet.

The defense is still below average, particularly the secondary. If they can’t get a consistent pass rush from the likes of Trent Cole and Brandon Graham, they are going to allow a lot of points. Every team in the NFC East has a prolific offense, which doesn’t bode well for Philadelphia in the long haul. They don’t have the receiving weapons to keep up with teams in a shootout as well. You will see more defenses put eight men in the box to stop McCoy, who is the focal point of their offense. If McCoy is being held in check, whom do they turn to? Jackson has proven to be a playmaker, but also has shown he can be fazed out of games.

Philadelphia has potential to surprise teams like they did last Monday night, but this is still a work in process. Washington’s defense has always been mediocre; along with coming into the game unprepared and missing tackles on a consistent basis. Dallas and New York are too good to make mental mistakes like Washington did in the first half. Both teams can attack their woeful secondary and won’t hesitate to put eight men in the box in an effort to shutdown McCoy. This is still an eight-win team at best, even with a favorable schedule.

Everyone expected the Broncos to be the best team in the AFC. That being said, the Ravens were embarrassed by them and had no answer for them on either side of the ball.

What do you think the Ravens' should be more concerned with their offense or defense? 

Ace: I don’t believe there should be much cause for alarm…yet. They went up against Peyton Manning at home where Joe Flacco and the Ravens embarrassed the Broncos nine months earlier. There wasn’t much of a running game, which you would expect when you’re trying to compete with Manning’s arm. The defending Super Bowl champs had the deck stacked against them on opening night and I wouldn’t put too much stock into that game.

Joe Flacco threw the ball 62 times for 362 yards and 2 touchdowns. He threw his first two interceptions since December of last year and he had 8 different targets, 7 of which caught at least three passes. They need to establish the running game with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce and I believe that they will do just that this week against Cleveland at home in front of a crowd that’s ready to celebrate their banner raising.

On the defensive side of the ball, it might take a couple games for this defense to click together. They’ve got 7 new starters on defense and forming a cohesive unit that can gel together might take some time. New additions Chris Canty and Elvis Dumervil each had two sacks of Manning and Terrell Suggs added another. Of their next six opponents before their Week Seven bye, only two made the playoffs last season (Houston and Green Bay). They have three games on the road (Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh) and they should get back on track before they have their time off. If they can’t find a groove, it may be a tough season for them. Joe Flacco needs to show he was worth all the money that he was paid and play like the franchise player that the Ravens Organization hopes he is.

Elite NFL Mind Challenge

Last week The Ace went 3-2 while Allen went 2-3. Here are this week’s picks!

Ace’s Picks

Washington Redskins (0-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-1)

Green Bay has to win this one, I think they will. Washington seemed to be a bit all over the place. Watch RG3 run all over and ESPN go nuts for a week.

Winner: Green Bay

St. Louis Rams (1-0) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

The Falcons are back at home where Matty Ice doesn’t lose (unless it’s to Green Bay in the playoffs). The Rams will give them a tough test, it should be close, but the Falcons win.

Winner: Atlanta

Miami Dolphins (1-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (1-0)

We saw Oakland keep it close with Indy. I think Miami gets the best of the Colts.

Winner: Miami

Denver Broncos (1-0) vs. New York Giants (0-1)

The Manning brothers combined for 912 yards last week. Both guys could light it up again this week, but I think Eli starts off 0-2 and Papa Bear will be torn.

Winner: Denver

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) vs. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

The 12th man will make the difference in this one. San Francisco squeaked one out last week against the Packers and Seattle did the same with Carolina. CenturyLink Field makes all the difference.

Winner: Seattle

Allen’s Picks

Washington Redskins (0-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-1)

Winner: Washington’s secondary is in complete disarray. That doesn’t bode well against an angry Aaron Rodgers. We’ll see the Packers’ defense bounce back leading them to a comfortable win at home.

Winner: Green Bay

St. Louis Rams (1-0) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

Winner: There are some injury concerns for Atlanta. Julio Jones and Asante Samuel may not play this week. Then Roddy White is still dealing with a high ankle sprain he suffered in the pre-season. Thankfully this is a home game for the Falcons and Steven Jackson will be ready to carry the load. Also expect Sam Bradford to be forced into multiple turnovers.

Winner: Atlanta

Miami Dolphins (1-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (1-0)

I’ve been critical in the Colts’ in the offseason and their performance against the Raiders didn’t change my perception of them. After an abysmal performance in week one, Lamar Miller breaks out and gives Miami a major boost offensively. Also look for Cameron Wake to have a field day against the Colts’ anemic offensive line.

Winner: Miami

Denver Broncos (1-0) vs. New York Giants (0-1)

The Manning bowl will feature plenty of passing yards for sure. The difference is that the Giants’ pass rush was non-existent in week one, which doesn’t bode well against Peyton Manning. Even without Von Miller, Denver’s defense proved to be better than expected. It’ll be close early, but look for Denver to pull away by the fourth quarter.

Winner: Denver

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) vs. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

It was surprising to see Seattle struggle offensively against Carolina. Even though Carolina’s front seven is filled with playmakers, they should have taken more advantage against their porous secondary. San Francisco is coming into this game with a lot of momentum and I have more faith in their offense right now. It will be a defensive slugfest for sure. In the end, Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin make crucial plays for San Francisco to get a huge win on the road.

Winner: San Francisco

Ace: My Packers kickoff at Noon and my co-host of Macho Men Radio, C-Mac will be at Lambeau cheering them on. We’ll talk about his experience next Tuesday night on the radio show, which is the final show before my Wedding Hiatus. There are some fun matchups this week but the Sunday night game should be a defensive battle. Check out Macho Men Radio from Tuesday night where Allen was on with us to talk NFL. Have a great week!

Allen: The Sunday night game is the most appealing game on the schedule. I’m expecting the 49ers to be fired up, after being embarrassed the last time these teams played in Seattle. We’ll see both Manning brothers have productive games, but the Broncos are on another level right now. The Giants’ lack of pass rush and running back woes will hinder their chances of pulling the upset. The schedule isn’t that great this week, but I’m sure there will be more upsets as usual. Good luck to your teams this weekend.

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