A new NFL season is upon us, and that means it's time for another round of bold predictions. As always, this week's edition of fearless prognostications includes a macho helping of audaciousness and abandon as we head into Sunday and Monday's Week 1 contests. Warning: these predictions are not for the faint of heart.
Giants-Cowboys combine for 102 points
The league wants more yardage, more scoring and more big plays. They'll get it on Sunday in Dallas. Completely abandoning their less-than-inspiring ground game, Eli and the G-Men will unleash a game plan that asks Manning to toss 60-plus passes to Odell Beckham, rookie Sterling Shepard and their pass-catching cronies. The Cowboys will counter with a wild ground-and-pound assault led by Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, while rookie quarterback Dak Prescott continues to spin magic with the help of Dez Bryant. Both teams will combine for an avalanche of points -- 102 in total -- making this the third highest-scoring game in NFL history. Welcome back to football.
If this doesn't happen -- including the exact point total -- NFL.com editor David Ely will use personal funds to purchase a wild mountain of upscale Chinese takeout for the newsroom. The order will consist of: 14 tubs of Mongolian beef, 12 trays of sweet and sour chicken, 3 vats of Kung Pao shrimp and 6 containers of the following: beef broccoli, crispy beef in garlic sauce, cashew chicken, shrimp in lobster sauce, Buddha's delight, Moo Shu beef, Moo Shu pork, hot Szechwan shrimp, sauteed shrimp in wine sauce, sweet and pungent shrimp, and Moo Shu vegetable. Ely will also purchase auxiliary "family style" pots of double delight in hot sauce, shrimp chop suey, Szechwan shredded pork and almond chicken. Soup orders will be delivered in 200-ounce containers of the following varieties: Wonton soup, three flavor sizzling rice soup, egg flour soup, bean curd and spinach, and Wor wonton soup. The purchase will also include a rash of noodle bins (chicken chow fun, beef chow fun and shrimp chow fun), 96 containers of steamed rice, 55 bins of fried rice, egg rolls (175 count), pot stickers (88 count), barbecued spare ribs (14 racks), pu-pu tray (12 count), Bar-B-Q beef stick (44 count), sodas (250 count; restaurant can choose variety, please include Dr. Pepper), fortune cookies (250 count). -- Marc Sessler
Titans run for 200+ yards against Vikings
Forget Adrian Peterson and Minnesota's quarterback conundrum. The top storyline coming out of Sunday's Vikings-Titans opener will be the emergence of "exotic smashmouth." Mike Mularkey's February fantasy will finally come to fruition against Mike Zimmer's stiff front. After a dominant preseason, Tennessee's rebuilt backfield of Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will run for over 200 yards via a combination of traditional north-south rushes and open-field option plays. Sure, the Vikings have only surrendered 200 rushing yards once under Zimmer. But it just so happened to come in Week 1 last season against the hapless 49ers, so anything is possible, especially deja vu. -- Jeremy Bergman
Ezekiel Elliott goes wild in rookie debut
Ezekiel Elliott will eclipse 200 total yards on Sunday against the Giants: Jerry Jones may have wanted Joey Bosa at pick No. 4, but what he got was something much more. Elliott will puzzle the Giants' green linebacking corps and benefit from a rookie quarterback who will be eager to check down to a running back that could be on the field all three downs throughout the game. Elliott will be the headline, but this matchup between the Dallas offensive line and the Giants' $200 million defensive line -- the hog mollies who will truly prove this prediction wrong or right. -- Conor Orr
DeSean Jackson pops off for 150-plus yards vs. Steelers
When healthy, DeSean Jackson remains a menace to secondaries. Monday night he'll face one of the shakiest units in the NFL. Despite attempts to improve its defensive backfield, Pittsburgh remains shallow at corner. First-round pick Artie Burns dealt with injury most of the preseason; the Steelers were so desperate they traded for Browns castoff Justin Gilbert. The concoction of a wobbly secondary and healthy Jackson will lead to a big day for the Redskins' speedster. Entering the final year of his contract, Jackson will pop off for 150-plus receiving yards and at least one long touchdown (Pittsburgh's secondary is usually good for one big busted coverage a game). -- Kevin Patra
Carson Wentz accounts for four touchdowns against Browns
The future is now -- maybe sooner than most expected -- in Philadelphia, and while rookies tend to have average-at-best debuts (not looking at you, Marcus Mariota), Carson Wentz is set up for a memorable one. His opponent? The Cleveland Browns, which let both of their starting safeties go in the offseason, cut starting nickel backK'Waun Williams and traded former first-rounderJustin Gilbert. They're left with Joe Haden, veteran journeyman Jamar Taylor, safeties Jordan Poyer, Derrick Kindred, Ibraheim Campbell and Don Jones, and 33-year-old Tramon Williams. The latter is increasingly showing the effects of Father Time. It's like a gift from the football gods. First professional game? Here are the hapless Browns, who kept their entire draft class (save for one) and jettisoned veterans with reckless abandon. Have at 'em. -- Nick Shook