Week 3 of the 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 contests. Warning: these predictions are not for the faint of heart.
Eddie Lacy will expose Lions' defensive flaws
Eddie Lacy's stat struggles have continued this season. The Green Bay Packers running back has yet to gain 65 yards rushing in either of the first two games, making it five straight contests below that mark, dating back to 2015. Lacy hasn't fared well against the Lions in his career, with zero touchdowns and a 51.0 rush yards per game average. Sunday that changes. The Lions have given up 110.5 yards per contest on the ground and are likely without linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Facing a depleted Detroit linebacking unit, Lacy will plow through the second level Sunday to the tune of 111 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown.
-- Kevin Patra
Vikings stun Panthers or Ely faces wild homework assignment
Mike Zimmer looms as Coach of the Year material in Minnesota. Instead of allowing his team to fold the tent when Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the year, the Vikings coach green-lit a trade for Sam Bradford and commanded his defense to serve as the identity of this white-knuckle roster. They're looking good at 2-0, but there's no truer acid test in the NFC than venturing into Carolina and facing an uber-talented Panthers club that looks like the cream of the conference. I'm taking nothing away from Carolina, but look for the Vikings -- sans Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson -- to pull off a grand upset on Sunday in what will double as the best game of Week 3.
If this doesn't happen, NFL Media editor/clotheshorse David Ely will file a 400-page written response to Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday, which is summed up on Amazon with this:
"Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna -- its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall.
"Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction."
-- Marc Sessler
Nothing to do between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham
The much ballyhooed rematch of last year's Royal Rumble won't elicit any headline-worthy barbs. Like many of Washington's opponents, the Giants will successfully find a way to match up their best receiver against the Redskins' second or third best corners. Norman, on the other hand, will jaw a bit with rookie Sterling Shepard, the latest Giants receiver to provide a ho-hum opinion about Norman and get on his radar. Last year's fight was an alarm bell for the Giants organization and something they likely wouldn't allow to happen again. There's no doubt that Giants have already made sure that their star player is on an even keel before the game.
- -- Conor Orr*
Melvin Gordon will amass 175-plus total yards
Putting an injury-riddled rookie year behind him, Gordon looks to continue his hot start to 2016 against one of the thinnest defenses in the league. The Chargers are without Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen for the rest of the season, and against the Colts, there's room for more than one playmaker to break out; may we remind you what the Lions did with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick in Week 1? Alongside Travis Benjamin and/or Tyrell Williams, Gordon will follow up the first 100-plus-yard game of his career with another monster afternoon, earning more than 30 touches all the while juking Indy's scab defenders back to the waiver wire.
-- Jeremy Bergman
Tajae Sharpe pulls a Corey Coleman -- 150-plus yards, two touchdowns
A look at the Titans' preseason film made it simple to see: Tajae Sharpewill be a big part of Tennessee's offense. The rookie wideout from UMass lived up to that expectation in Week 1, catching seven of his 11 targets for 76 yards and drawing praise from a surefire Hall of Famer in teammate Andre Johnson. Sharpe's performance in Week 2 wasn't as scintillating, but no matter when it comes to Week 3 when the Titans face the Oakland Raiders, who just allowed Matt Ryan to complete 26 of 34 passes for 396 yards and three touchdowns.
Julio Jones led all receivers with 106 yards and one touchdown on five catches. Sharpe has 109 yards on 11 catches in two games, and has yet to hit pay dirt. It would seem a bit rash to expect him to more than double his output in one game, right? Well, Oakland has allowed 404 yards through the air per game in its first two weeks, and these are bold predictions, so why not raise the bar for the rookie? Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota will face an angry rush from one Khalil Mack, so it would be understandable for Mike Mularkey's offense to focus on finding its receivers in space and allowing them to make plays. This is where Sharpe flourishes, catching two passes on hard slants and gaining additional yards in Week 1 against Minnesota and grabbing a drag and taking it for 11 yards and a first down in Week 2 against Detroit. A steady diet of these completions, and frequent targets on sideline comeback routes against man coverage -- there were plenty of these against Minnesota -- should allow Sharpe to rack up yards. Catch him in the soft areas of zone coverage on seam routes a few times and suddenly, you've got a former fifth-round pick putting up Corey Coleman numbers. That's right, we're going for a buck-fifty and two scores. Do it big, young fella.
-- Nick Shook