The NFL is officially down to its final four teams, and by Sunday night, we'll know which two teams will be heading to Arizona to battle it out in Super Bowl LVII.
After a divisional round that didn't provide much excitement, we could be in for a wild Sunday. Both games this week currently have a point spread of under three points and if things stay that way, it would mark just the third time ever that both conference championship games have a spread that small (The other two times it happened came in 1982 and 1997).
In the NFC, things went exactly as expected with the top-two seeds advancing to the conference title game. At the top, we have the Eagles, who will be hosting the second-seeded 49ers in the early game on Sunday. In the AFC, the top-seeded Chiefs will be hosting a Bengals team that made it to the conference title round by destroying the second-seeded Bills, 27-10.
Although the playoffs can be nearly impossible to predict, we're going to try to do that anyway by making four bold predictions for Sunday. Here's how things are going to work: Since there are two games on the schedule for Sunday, we'll be making one bold prediction for each team that's playing.
Remember, these are bold predictions only. If you're looking for actual game picks, feel free to click here.
With that in mind, let's get to the bold predictions.
Bengals bold prediction: Cincinnati has two 100-yard receivers
This might not seem that bold, but it is when you consider that the Bengals only had ONE game during the 2022 season where they had multiple players hit 100 receiving yards (That came during a 35-17 win over the Falcons in Week 7). They've never done it in their postseason history and they've only done it TWICE ever since drafting Joe Burrow (and that includes the Week 7 game against Atlanta).
When the Bengals faced the Chiefs back in December, they didn't have a single receiver hit the 100-yard mark. Ja'Marr Chase came the closest (seven catches for 97 yards), but no other player finished with more than 60 yards receiving.
Chiefs bold prediction: Mahomes throws zero TD passes
There wasn't a single game during the 2022 season where Mahomes finished with zero touchdown passes, but it's not out of the realm of possibility for Sunday due to his ankle injury. Mahomes might look fine in practice, but there's no guarantee his ankle is going to hold up once he's running around and taking hits.
The only upside for the Chiefs here is that it's definitely still possible for them to win even if Mahomes doesn't throw a touchdown pass. Although it doesn't happen often, the Chiefs have actually been pretty successful when their QB doesn't throw a TD pass. If you include the playoffs, Mahomes has had eight games in his career with zero touchdown passes and the Chiefs have gone 6-2 in those games. Mahomes' most recent game with no TD passes came in Week 13 of 2021 when the Chiefs beat the Broncos 22-9.
That being said, one of his two losses did come under somewhat similar circumstances. Back in Super Bowl LV, Mahomes was battling a toe injury in the lead up to the game and although he was a full participant in practice each day that week, the toe definitely slowed him down during a game that the Buccaneers would win 31-9.
Eagles bold prediction: Jalen Hurts rushes for at least 150 yards
The 49ers defense has been so good this year that only ONE team has even rushed for 140 yards on them during the season and that was the Falcons, who ran for 168 yards in a 28-14 win over the Niners back in Week 6.
If this prediction pans out, Jalen Hurts will be topping 150 rushing yards by HIMSELF. The idea of Hurts hitting this number isn't impossible and that's because he's done it before. Hurts only topped 100 yards rushing in one game during the regular season and that came in Week 12 against the Packers when he hit 157 during a 40-33 win by the Eagles.
If Hurts hits 150 in the playoffs. it would be historical, because he'd become just the second QB in NFL playoff history to top that number (Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards in a January 2013 playoff win over the Packers).
49ers bold prediction: Brock Purdy held under 100 passing yards
Before this year, only four rookie quarterbacks had ever made it to a conference title game -- Ben Roethlisberger, Shaun King, Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco -- and uh, let's just say that things didn't go so well for that group. Not only did they collectively go 0-4, but they also combined to throw four touchdowns compared to nine interceptions.
The guess here is that Kyle Shanahan is going to create a game plan that takes a lot of pressure off Purdy by running the ball often. If Purdy is held under 100 yards, that's not the worst thing for the 49ers. Since the 2015 season, there have only been three instances where a playoff QB threw at least 10 passes and was held under 130 passing yards and those quarterbacks went 3-0. Two of those came from Ryan Tannehill, who did it in consecutive weeks back in January 2020. Tannehill threw for 72 yards during a 20-13 wild-card win over the Patriots. He then followed that up with an 88-yard performance in a 28-12 divisional round win over the Ravens.
The Jaguars also won a wild-card game in January 2018 even though Blake Bortles threw for just 87 yards. If Purdy struggles, that could be a problem, but Bortles and Tannehill prove that the 49ers could still win even if he's off his game.
The 49ers rushing attack is one of the best in the NFL and if that gets going, it might not matter how Purdy plays. The 49ers beat the Cowboys 19-12 in the divisional round even though they got just 214 passing yards and zero touchdown passes from their quarterback. The only thing the 49ers really need from their rookie QB is for him not to turn the ball over.
If Shanahan cuts down on Purdy's passing, that also means that the rookie won't have to deal with an Eagles pass rush that has totaled 75 sacks this year, which is the third-highest single-season total by any team since sacks became an official stat in 1982.
If you want more bold predictions, we actually did an entire podcast of bold predictions and you can check that out by clicking here. On the other hand, if you think these are the worst predictions ever, feel free to let me know on Twitter.