5 bold predictions for NFL Conference Championship Weekend

The penultimate chapter of the NFL season is sprinkled with juicy storylines, including one burning question: Is the Evil Empire finally going to fall?

Here are five bold predictions for this weekend's conference title games:

1. Tom Brady will throw touchdowns with both hands (or just his feet)

Okay, perhaps that's a bit too ambitious even for TB12, but, hey, anything is possible. My favorite part of this week has been how Patriot Nation is playing it cool like Brady's mangled right hand (or something like that) isn't a real concern. Brady was spotted during warmups Thursday wearing a pair of gloves before not actually, you know, practicing, according to the official practice report.

GloveWatch set Pats fans into a quiet panic. Is the GOAT really hurt this time? Did the Patriots screw up by trading Jimmy Garoppolo? Is this how The Evil Empire will finally fall?

The next 48 hours will be critical. Will Brady be healthy enough to play against the Jaguars? Will Belichick storm the owner's box and choke out Robert Kraft for forcing him to trade away the one guy who would have helped him overcome a Brady injury?

Or will the Empire strike back … and make all of us look like fools again?

(Brady is 7-0 with 17 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 114.8 passer rating against Jacksonville in his career, by the way.)

21 PHOTOS
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick through the years
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick through the years
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 18: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick holds a sideline meeting with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe during the fourth quarter of Saturday's NFL preseason game with the Carolina Panthers played in Charlotte. (Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES: New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick (R) after their win over the St. Louis Rams 03 February, 2002 in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Patriots defeated the Rams 20-17 for the NFL championship. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick and the coaching staff give frantic last second instructions to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the final drive of the game vs. the Chicago Bears 11/10/2002. Brady went on to throw a 20 yd. touchdown pass to wide receiver David Patten to beat the Bears 33-30.� Don Lansu. (Photo by Don Lansu/Getty Images)
NFL Football - New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady against Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Championship at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Penn., on Jan. 25, 2005. Patriots won 41-27. (Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, UNITED STATES: Head coach Bill Belichick (L) of the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady (R) talk 06 February 2005 after winning the Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 to win their second straight Super Bowl and third in four years. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick celebrate after 24-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers in AFC Divisional Playoff game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. on Sunday, January 14, 2007. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH - OCTOBER 20: During the Patriots practice on the practice field at Gillette Stadium, coach Bill Belichick (left) talks with Tom Brady. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick hugs Tom Brady (#12) after winning the game against Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick applauded New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (#12) after Brady's touchdown pass to New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (#85) in the fourth quarter as the Patriots took on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots confers with Tom Brady #12 during a time out in the 2nd half in a game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 07: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hits a tee shot on the 13th hole as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club on February 7, 2014 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 14: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick share a moment as the final seconds tick off the clock in their victory, which gave them their 6th straight AFC East title. The New England Patriots hosted the Miami Dolphins in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12, team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws the first pitch before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on from left at Fenway Park on April 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 25: With only three days off between games, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (rear) and head coach Bill Belichick (front) will have very little time to get ready for Thursday night's game against the Dolphins. Here they are pictured on the sidelines during Sunday's game against the New York Jets in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick during the fourth quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 stand onstage during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate a 34-28 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 7: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raises a Lombardi Trophy during the rally in City Hall Plaza following the Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade in Boston on Feb. 7, 2017. Head coach Bill Belichick is behind him. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 31: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 chat before a preseason game with the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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2. The Jaguars won't embarrass themselves

Doug Marrone practically is fielding an all-star team on defense. He's got four Pro Bowlers, including two at cornerback, a second-team All-Pro outside linebacker and a defensive end with 12 sacks who didn't earn any hardware. Oh, and the Jags have a bruising difference-making running back that has forced defenders to make a whole lot of business decisions for the past four months.

Don't expect the Patriots to turn this into a laugher. There will be some anxious moments for the Evil Empire.

3. The clock will strike midnight for Case Keenum

It's been a hell of a ride for the journeyman quarterback, but his divisional-round miracle pass will be his last great moment of the season. Marcus Williams isn't walking through that door on Sunday.

Philly's top-ranked rushing defense will put the onus on Keenum, who didn't look very good last week before his epic game-winning touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs. Will Keenum be able to respond in a hostile environment with so much at stake? Come on. We know the answer to that question.

18 PHOTOS
Case Keenum through his career
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Case Keenum through his career
HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Cougars throws a pass against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Robertson Stadium November 17, 2007 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 35-28. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Quarterback Case Keenum, # 7 of the Houston Cougars, watches the action on the sidelines during the game against the Central Florida Knights, at Bright House Networks Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Quarterback Case Keenum of Houston runs the 40-yard dash during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 11: Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans against the Carolina Panthers during a preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 11, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Texans defeated the Panthers, 26-13. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 18: Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans during preseason game action at Reliant Stadium on August 18, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX- NOVEMBER 17: Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans walks off the field after the Houston Texans turn the ball over on downs against the Oakland Raiders on November 17, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Raiders won 28 to 23.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Case Keenum #17 of the St. Louis Rams looks to pass the ball against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 14, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Case Keenum #17 of the St. Louis Rams signals to the sidelines during the first quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA - MARCH 04: Case Keenum #17 of the Los Angeles Rams attends the Los Angeles Rams Media Availability on March 4, 2016 in Manhattan Beach, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - MAY 14: NFL player Case Keenum attends KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2016 at StubHub Center on May 14, 2016 in Carson, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Case Keenum #17 of the Los Angeles Rams high fives fans as he leaves the field after his team's 9-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the home opening NFL game at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Case Keenum #17 of the Los Angeles Rams changes the play at the line during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 16, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Rams 31-28. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 10: Case Keenum #7 hands the ball off to Bishop Sankey #43 of the Minnesota Vikings during the game against the Buffalo Bills on August 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Minnesota defeats Buffalo 17-10. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 1: Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after a failed fourth down attempt in the fourth quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions on October 1, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lions defeated the Vikings 14-7. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) high fives fans as he runs into the locker room after winning the game between the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field on Sunday, November 12, 2017. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings attends the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Miami Heat on November 24, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 17: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) calls a play during a NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals on December 17, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.The Vikings defeated the Bengals 34-7.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 31: Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on after the game against the Chicago Bears on December 31, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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4. Nick Foles will be very bad

The Vikings’ No. 1 defense will suffocate Nikki Sixx. The Eagles coaching staff did a terrific job with their backup-turned-starter, but Minnesota's defense presents an altogether different challenge. They're going to rough up Foles, which could prompt a Nate Sudfeld sighting.

5. Super Bowl LII: Patriots vs Eagles

The Evil Empire survives a scare. Philly rides four Jake Elliott field goals to the big game. A Super Bowl XXXIX rematch. Will Brady and Belichick win their sixth ring? Will the Patriots cheat this time like they did 13 years ago? Stay tuned.

Related: See each team's odds of winning the Super Bowl: 

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Super Bowl odds ahead of Championship Weekend
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Super Bowl odds ahead of Championship Weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars

Odds of making Super Bowl: 19%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 6%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)

Minnesota Vikings

Odds of making Super Bowl: 43%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 25%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles

Odds of making Super Bowl: 57%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 25%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
New England Patriots

Odds of making Super Bowl: 81%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 44%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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