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Dan Bickley

Kyler Murray will lead Cardinals to victory in his NFL debut

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at State Farm Stadium on August 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Predictions are eternal. They reek of conviction and courage.

They affirm what you want to hear. They spawn controversy when they don’t. They mean nothing and everything all at once.

Example:

The Cardinals will beat the Lions on Sunday. Not because Kliff Kingsbury will checkmate Matt Patricia in a battle of sideline strategy. Because greatness declares itself early, and Kyler Murray is about to play his first real game since losing to Alabama, and I think he’s about to go off.

Predictions can be great. They are the doiiing sound of the diving board when perfectly struck, commanding your attention, proof that someone is jumping in the pool.

Babe Ruth called his own shot, allegedly. Joe Namath became famous for his Super Bowl prediction. Mark Messier came through on his guarantee for the New York Rangers. The Simpsons have predicted many things, including the ending of Game of Thrones.

I have had two monumental predictions in 30-plus years of journalism. In newsprint, I predicted that the underdog Falcons would shock Dennis Green’s Vikings in the 1998 NFC Championship Game. I was fairly new to Arizona at the time, and my bosses were surely checking their return policy.

I was right. And less than five years later, I predicted the sad-sack Buccaneers would win the 2003 Super Bowl. Which they did. I’ve been wrong ever since.

Predictions are great because they are designed to implode, ultimately mocking the predictor. Unless you are an exceptional gambler, you are going to lose between 51 and 67 percent of the time.

John Kruk once predicted that Randy Johnson could become a 30-game winner with the Yankees. I backed Stephon Marbury, Max Hall and Johnny Manziel. You swing when you guess, and in sports, you swing and miss a lot.

But the art of boldness awakens powerful forces. This weekend, the Falcons return to Minnesota once again, and my Minnesota neighbors will be ecstatic. Because the Vikings are about to unleash a juggernaut.

This weekend, the Buccaneers are more relevant than they’ve been since Jon Gruden took them to the Super Bowl, where they beat the Raiders, where Gruden is now coaching. This time, Tampa stages the return of Bruce Arians, in the fast-fading glow of his Arizona sunset. It won’t be pretty.

Welcome, all, who found my predictions such easy prey in 2018.

Revenge is mine.

Editor’s note: Last year, Bickley didn’t fare so well in his predictions. This year, you can compete in Bick’s Picks 2019, presented by Corona Extra.

Check out the contest at this link for a chance to win a 75-inch television, plus, you know, the bragging rights over Bickley to boot. Here are Dan’s picks for Week 1:

WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS
Cardinals d. Lions
Bears d. Packers
Jaguars d. Chiefs
Vikings d. Falcons
Browns d. Titans
Jets d. Bills
Ravens d. Dolphins
Eagles d. Redskins
Panthers d. Rams
Chargers d. Colts
Seahawks d. Bengals
Giants d. Cowboys
49ers d. Buccaneers
Patriots d. Steelers
Saints d. Texans
Broncos d. Raiders

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Dan Bickley bio
Dan Bickley is the most influential sports media member in Arizona sports history, having spent over 20 years as the award-winning lead sports columnist for The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com and almost two decades as a Valley sports radio talk show host. In spring 2018, Bickley made the decision to leave the newspaper to join the Arizona Sports team as host of the entertaining and informative midday show Bickley and Marotta, as well as bring his opinionated and provocative column exclusively to ArizonaSports.com.
Bickley’s journalism career began in his hometown of Chicago, where he was part of a star-studded staff at the Chicago Sun-Times. He chronicled Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships; covered the Olympics in eight different countries and attended 14 Super Bowls; spent three weeks in an Indianapolis courthouse writing about Mike Tyson’s rape trial; and once left his laptop in an Edmonton bar after the Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
He has won multiple awards, written two books, formed a rock band, fathered three children, and once turned down an offer to work at the New York Times.  His passions include sports, music, the alphabet, good beer and great radio. After joining Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, he couldn’t be happier