NFL | Jan 26, 2023

Super Bowl and Conference Championships: Picks and Predictions

By Harry Bazley

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The Conference Championships are fast approaching as the NFL Playoffs draw to a close. This weekend we'll witness the Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs, and the San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles, with the winners of each game facing off in Super Bowl LVII.

These four teams will provide some of the best football we've seen all year, and after an underwhelming Divisional Round, I'm more than ready for it.

Now, with such great teams, comes some tough calls when it comes to the winners and losers of each matchup. Given that every team has its strengths on both sides of the ball, there's predicted snow at the Arrowhead Stadium and there are injuries that could affect game plans, there are no guarantees this weekend.

Despite all of this, we're going to do our best to provide all the information you need this weekend to make the best calls.

49ers vs Eagles Predictions

Who would have thought Brock Purdy would be one game away from the Super Bowl? Well, in any case, we're here...

Philly have been the top dog in the NFC from the very start of the season and Jalen Hurts has just one more obstacle ahead of him before getting a shot at his first ring. And it just so happens to be the best defense in the league.

Eagles Offense vs 49ers Defense

This is perhaps the biggest talking point of the week...

The Eagles may have looked unstoppable against the Giants last week, but they are up against a very different side for this NFC Championship Game. San Francisco have the No.1 ranked defense in the league. They are most impressive stopping the run but their secondary is nothing short of elite.

It will be a tough night for Jalen Hurts in the passing game, but the one place he may be able to exploit a gap in the '9ers defense is with QB runs. Including the playoffs, the 49ers rank 19th in the league in success rate against quarterback runs, but have specifically struggled against quarterback scrambles, where they fall to 26th in the league.

Hurts will need to get out of the pocket to gain enough time to find AJ Brown downfield. Luckily enough, that’s exactly where Jalen Hurts excels.

49ers Offense vs Eagles Defense

The 49ers are still undefeated with Purdy in the starting spot, but this title game will be the first time they go in as underdogs.

Purdy stood tall against a tough Dallas defense last week. Admittedly it was his worst game so far, but if Shanahan can call this one correctly and get the ball to his playmakers, San Francisco could take this all the way.

Expect to see Purdy get the ball out quick and short. I'm looking for long drives with plenty of action from Christian McCaffrey in the passing game and more of Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel in the backfield.

I believe this one will be very very close, but here's how I think things will wrap up:

My prediction: 49ers 20-17 Eagles

Bengals vs Chiefs Predictions

First thing's first - the history of this matchup...

Now, with all we know about Mahomes Magic and the unstoppable force that is Travis Kelce, it might surprise you to know that Joe Burrow is 3-0 against the Chiefs with eight touchdown passes and just one interception.

What's more? We saw this exact game last year, when the Bengals came back from 21-10 at halftime, to outscore the Chiefs 14-3 in the second half to send the game to OT and eventually win 27-24. We also saw it in Week 13, where Cincy won 27-24 again.

With that in mind, the question remains - can they do it one more time?

Here a few of the key factors that could decide this matchup:


The forecast indicates snow at Arrowhead stadium this Sunday and with the Bengals fresh off a heavy snow-game win, they might just have the upper hand here.

Running Game

This one could be the 50/50 factor that goes either way and eventually decides the game.

For Cincy - not only do they have 60 minutes practice in the snow, they proved that they can efficiently move the chains with their star RB Joe Mixon who will be playing off the back of a breakout performance. Mixon had 20 carries last week, logging 105 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Isaiah Pachecho had a similarly impressive game last week, with 95 yards on just 12 carries. Considering Mahomes could be quite limited this Sunday, expect to see Andy Reid put Pacheco to the test once again. He'll be facing a Cincinnati defense that was seventh in the league against the run during the regular season and impressively held Buffalo to 3.3 yards per carry in their Divisional Round win.

We'll likely see short-yardage running from both sides for most of the game, so whoever breaks a long one for a score could come out on top this weekend.

Passing Game

Let's be honest, nobody except Mahomes really knows how bad the injury is. I'm predicting he'll play through the pain, but he'll likely be more limited to short throws, just like we saw in the second half of last week's matchup.

If this is the case, Mahomes will be feeling the pressure against the Bengals D-line - who will be trying to collapse the pocket and keep him moving if his escapability is limited. Expect Kelce to feature heavily between the numbers, while McKinnon and Toney could be the go-to's for check-downs.

On the other hand, the Bengals have been firing on all cylinders through the air and I don't expect them to slow down this weekend, even with the snow.

We already saw the likes of Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase show off some tough catches in the snow and I think we'll see more of the same against the Chiefs. Burrow threw for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns, and spread his 23 completions all over the field. Hayden Hurst took a key role as he caught 5 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

When all is said and done, I think Burrow has far more weapons than Mahomes, and when you factor in the injury, it's hard to say that the Chiefs will out-throw the Bengals.


Patrick Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain at the end of Q1 last week, and despite coming back to finish the game and secure the W, he never looked quite the same when we came back from the locker room.

Mahomes was limping his way to hand the ball off and hopping past the line of scrimmage to grab a few yards on the scramble. We could see an appearance from Chad Henne if Mahomes takes a heavy hit at any point, but don't place your Bengals bets just yet...

Henne led a 98-yard touchdown drive when he stepped in for Mahomes last week, setting a franchise record for the longest drive in playoff history. It's clear Henne can get the job done too, but the Cincinnati defense will probably make it a bit tougher than the Jags did.

Taking all of that into account and the fact that Cincy have a great record against KC, here's my prediction for the AFC Championship game.

My Prediction: Bengals 27 - 24 Chiefs

Super Bowl Prediction

With my picks being the Eagles and the Bengals to come out on top this weekend, my prediction for the 2023 Super Bowl is set: the 49ers will face the Bengals to battle it out for a ring.

I may be eating my words on Sunday night, but I think the Bengals take this all the way:

My Prediction: Bengals 20 - 17 49ers