Kyler Murray will lead Cardinals to victory in his NFL debut
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.
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.
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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