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: Welcome to Week Three! Eight teams are 2-0, eight teams are 0-2, and the other half of the league is 1-1. We’ve seen some big time performances by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos and we’ve seen the Jacksonville Jaguars put up 11 points. My boy Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looked great at home on Sunday against the Redskins. It would have been nice if Washington had been a little more competitive early on because I firmly believe that Rodgers would have thrown for more than 554 yards and broke Norm Van Brocklin’s record. We’ve got quite a few games with spreads of less than 4 going into the week. That means we’ll have some fun finishes this Sunday!

Allen: It was somewhat of a dull week that ended in predictable finishes. I know there were a lot of close games, but the endings didn’t surprise me. Tampa Bay and Minnesota collapsing in the end wasn’t shocking at all. The most significant thing that stood out to me is that Seattle looks to be the best team in the NFC. It’s impressive to blow out the NFC champions twice in a span of one year. The home advantage does benefit them, but it’s clear that their defense is elite. If Marshawn Lynch has success running the ball, there is pretty much no chance of beating them. Seattle deserves the praise that they get, now let’s get into some questions.

Ace: Adrian Peterson boldly proclaimed his goal for 2013 was 2,500 yards rushing. He’s ahead of his pace from last season (193 yards vs. 144 yards). The Cleveland Browns are on the horizon for A.P. and he could have a huge day. After three games last year he was at 230 yards.

Do you see 2,500 yards being a realistic accomplishment or is back-to-back 2,000 yard seasons more likely? Where do you think AP will finish when the season wraps?

Allen:  I’m not discounting Adrian Peterson’s talent. If any running back can run for 2,500 yards, everyone knows he can do it. It seems virtually impossible though, especially with the Vikings constantly in close games or behind. Even though Peterson will get 20 carries a game at minimum, it still isn’t enough for him to achieve that goal. Also, you can’t discount the quality of defenses that the Vikings are going up against this year.

He can still run for 2,000 yards and nobody would be surprised, because the Vikings lean on him so much and he breaks so many tackles. It’s always fun to look up his yards after contact, when the season ends. You know it’s the best in the league, if not he’ll be in the top three. Not many running backs can absorb contact like him, while still running full speed.

Similar to last year, we’ll probably see Peterson just crack 2,000 yards or at least come close. Nothing has changed with him and he still looks to be fresh coming out of the backfield. You never see any fatigue with him, even in the fourth quarter after receiving 20 carries. He truly lives up to his nickname known as “All Day”. Still it seems impossible for any running back, regardless of how good they are to reach a plateau like 2,500 yards in one season.

NFL Story of the Week

We’ve all heard the statistic that 8% of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. Since the 12 team playoff format was adopted in 1990, 22 teams of the 276 qualifying teams started with an 0-2 record. With that being said, there are four teams that might be pushing the panic button with 0-2 records. The Vikings and Redskins were playoff teams last year and the Giants and Steelers just missed the playoffs, are also winless. Which of these teams should be most concerned about their start?

Ace: The fact that the Giants and Redskins are in the same division should be the cause of alarm for both teams. It’s very tough for 0-2 teams to climb out of that hole and when there are two of them in the same division, I’m sure it’s next to impossible.

Of those four teams, the team that needed a 2-0 start was the Minnesota Vikings. Their first two losses were on the road to divisional opponents (Detroit and Chicago). They come home to Cleveland so they should be out of the winless column but their schedule doesn’t get any easier. They travel to London to face the Steelers in a ‘home’ game followed by an early Week 5 bye. The remainder of their schedule isn’t any easier. Of their final 12 games, 9 teams finished with eight wins or better and the other three games feature Cam Newton, Michael Vick and the Detroit Lions.

The Steelers are a team that I think will be towards the bottom of the AFC this year. They’re without a running game or stellar receivers and they’ve lost their best offensive lineman for the season. The Steelers may have to admit that they’re getting older and they should start building for the future.

The Redskins over achieved last season and you can definitely see that this year. RG3 suffered a catastrophic knee injury last season and everyone has expected him to make an Adrian Peterson-like recovery. He’s looked like he’s very scared to take a hit. There have been clamoring for Kirk Cousins which would be the wrong move, but if RG3 physically cannot play, I would close the door on him for the season.

We’ve seen it before and we’ll surely see it again with Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants but they are notorious for having great halves of the season and terrible halves. In the Tom Coughlin era, here are their records through Week 9:

2004: 5-3

2005: 6-2

2006: 6-2

2007: 6-2

2008: 7-1

2009: 5-4

2010: 5-2

2011: 6-2

2012: 6-3

They have won at least five games in their first nine weeks every season Coughlin has been head coach. It’s normally in the 2nd half of the season where his team struggles. Here’s the rest of the season under Coughlin.

2004: 1-7

2005: 5-3

2006: 2-5

2007: 4-4 (Won Super Bowl)

2008: 5-3

2009: 3-4

2010: 5-4

2011: 3-5 (Won Super Bowl)

2012: 3-4

I truly think this will be the toughest season for the Giants under Tom Coughlin. They have a tough schedule in a tough division and they’re missing key elements that helped them achieve the success that they’ve had in the past. Their running game is nonexistent and they’re very weak on defense. I doubt Coughlin loses his job, but the Giants aren’t the team that I expected them to be.

Allen: New York and Minnesota are excluded mainly for playing against tough teams. I had both teams losing the first two games of the season, so it doesn’t surprise me to see them at 0-2. Despite Christian Ponder’s struggles, the Vikings have proven to be a solid all-around team. Even though the schedule becomes brutal after the bye week, they have enough talent to win eight games this season. If the secondary and Ponder can step up, they should be in the playoff race until the very end.

The same goes for the Giants, although there are definitely more concerns on their team compared to Minnesota. The running game has been non-existent and they aren’t stopping the run all of a sudden to go along with a below average secondary. Now teams are starting to figure out that their pass rush isn’t as good as it once was. The Giants possess a lot of flaws right now, but an easier schedule now can help them bounce back

It comes down to Pittsburgh and Washington, which will be separated by expectations. Pittsburgh should be very concerned about their offensive struggles and their lack of a running game. The difference is that they didn’t have high expectations coming into this season, as it should be considered to be a rebuilding year for them. If Pittsburgh can develop young stars for the future, they’ll be better prepared for 2014. I’m already considering this a lost season for them.

My pick is Washington for the simple fact that they’ve been absolutely dominated in the first half of their first two games. I’m not taking Robert Griffin’s numbers seriously, since it’s obvious that the opposing defenses allowed him to complete underneath passes in the second half of both games. The Washington defense is in absolute disarray from several missed tackles to the secondary allowing receivers to be wide open downfield consistently. I’m not surprised by Washington’s slow start, considering I had them finishing 7-9. Still the fact that they haven’t been competitive all season makes them the biggest concern out of the four teams that were mentioned.

Allen: Tampa Bay was my surprise pick to make the playoffs as a sixth seed. So far, they've managed to lose two games in the last ten seconds of the game.

With the recent reports about Greg Schiano and Josh Freeman, whom do you blame more for Tampa Bay's struggles?

Ace: Long answer short, it all boils down to coaching. Let’s look at Alex Smith in San Francisco. He was long considered a bust by many, until Jim Harbaugh took over and molded him into a quarterback that was one game from the Super Bowl. Now he’s leading Andy Reid’s offense in Kansas City.

I’ve always liked Freeman and I think he’s got what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL. They’ve improved his offensive line, added a star running back in Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are very good receivers. Freeman shouldn’t be struggling as much as he is and if I had Freeman on my team, I would not give up on him.

Ever since Greg Schiano tried to take out Eli Manning last season during the kneel down, I’ve never been a fan. Some college coaches are successful in this league and some are not. If I had to choose right now, I would think he’s the latter. Everyone knows that I’m with you on picking Tampa Bay as a surprise team this season. I had them penciled in at 9-7 and I do believe they have the talent to get there. Will it be this year or under Greg Schiano? It’s becoming more and more unlikely.

Elite NFL Mind Challenge

Last week The Ace went perfect at 5-0, while Allen was nearly perfect at 4-1 missing the Miami/Indianapolis game. Overall The Ace is 8-2 and Allen is 6-4. Here are this weeks picks!

Ace’s Picks

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

It will be close, but ultimately Andy Reid’s team will lose to his old team. It all boils down to offense. Can KC put up more than 30 points? It could be tough.

Winner: Philadelphia

Green Bay Packers (1-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

I’ll put my homer bias aside for a second. I really like Cincinnati but Andy Dalton has looked average, but AJ Green could have a huge game. I just think Rodgers will have a better game.

Winner: Green Bay

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) vs. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Unfortunately for Allen, this game will give him gray hairs. The loss of Steven Jackson for a few weeks will make them a pass happy team, but Miami is very good defensively. I think Atlanta pulls it out in a quick one. (That’s what she said!)

Winner: Atlanta

St. Louis Rams (1-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

Hi John Canton, how you doing?

Winner: St. Louis

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

This is just the only game that might have some intrigue to it. I think San Francisco overwhelms Andrew Luck and Company.

Winner: San Francisco

Allen’s Picks

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

Kansas City may be the worst 2-0 team in the NFL. The defense carried them to that win against Dallas. It’ll be hard pressed to slow down Philadelphia’s offense completely. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy will be the difference makers as usual, while the pass rush will be in Alex Smith’s face all night long.

Winner: Philadelphia

Green Bay Packers (1-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

Cincinnati has been somewhat disappointing so far, although Andy Dalton’s mediocrity isn’t much of a surprise. Still the defense has been as good as advertised and the rookies have been an upgrade. Aaron Rodgers is firing on all cylinders, but the Packers’ offensive line will hinder him from having a big day. Cincinnati will hang on for the scrappy win.

Winner: Cincinnati

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) vs. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

It’s time for an upset, even though the Dolphins are favored for some reason (no respect for Atlanta as usual, typical). Still everyone knows the Falcons are completely beat up with Steven Jackson, Sean Weatherspoon, and other key players injured. Miami is a scrappy team and their underappreciated defense will finally get some major recognition. Matt Ryan will put up his numbers, but Miami will hang on thanks to winning the turnover battle.

Winner:  Miami

St. Louis Rams (1-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

This game could truly go either way. St. Louis’ pass rush is downright scary with Robert Quinn and Chris Long coming off the edges. Still it seems like this is a game, where Dallas wins thanks to a big day from Jason Witten. The inexperienced Rams’ secondary will cost them in the end. Dan Bailey will kick the game winner and Dallas will once again prove the critics wrong.

Winner: Dallas

Indianapolis Colts (1-0) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)

Andrew Luck is athletic, but I’m not sure if he can run away from the 49ers defense on a consistent basis. This is an angry 49ers team that got manhandled by Seattle. I’m expecting them to bounce back in a big way, especially Anquan Boldin. The Colts will get humbled in a big way.

Winner:  San Francisco

Ace: Check out Tuesday’s Macho Men Radio as it was a fantastic episode. It’s the last episode until October 15th as I am getting married next Saturday and will be heading to the Dominican Republic shortly afterwards. Speaking of which, I’ll be here next week with you, Allen, but for the following two weeks our buddy Mike Ayers will take my spot and talk NFL with you. I’ll even trust in him to make my picks, so I better get a commanding lead through next week! Thanks for reading and we’ll see all of you next week!

Allen: I’ll be praying that my buddy The Ace has the best of his life when he gets married. That speech is for next week though. The schedule for this week is looking pretty weak, especially the Monday night game. The committee has to realize that Oakland is an embarrassing franchise, while Denver is likely going to the Super Bowl this year. They must want Peyton Manning to throw for nine touchdowns on national television. At least Jon Gruden is commentating, so I can listen to his stellar thoughts. Hopefully if I ever meet him, he’ll say that he likes me after five minutes. Anyway good luck to your teams this weekend and will be back next week.

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