There is a reason that the Oddsmakers in Las Vegas love me so much and my more than slightly inaccurate prognostications last weekend were a prime example of why. After predicting (not publicly and indeed well after the fact) all four wildcard games correctly the previous weekend, I only got one of the four games right this past weekend. But never fear because win, lose or get burned like toast, I will be here with your predictions for this weekend’s National Food-ball League Conference Championships.
Before we start, I have to go back to last Saturday’s Broncos-Ravens game for just a minute as this has been chewing away at me for a while like piece of gristle from a cheap piece of steak. How in the world can you EVER let a man get behind you on a Hail Mary Pass ? The Denver Broncos defensive back that fell on his keister looked a lot like my cousin Earl during last summer’s family reunion touch football game that got a little too personal down in the trenches between Aunt Sandy & her sister in law but that really is another blog for another time and I digress. And then Peyton Manning throwing across his body in overtime was like banging the oven door shut on a soufflé. I am so depressed thinking about it I am probably going to go get some pork rinds from the overpriced vending machine here at work. But enough of this wallowing in my misery, let’s get to the task at hand. Who’s going to the Souper Bowl in New Orleans this February ?
National Food-Ball Conference
The San Francisco 49ers at The Atlanta Falcons
Though I didn’t pick either of these teams to be here at this point in the playoffs I am somewhat excited to see this game. The 49ers may be the most exciting team left in the playoffs with their quarterback Colin Kapernick leading the way. This kid can run & throw as well or maybe even better than Cam Newton or RG3. Throw in the running of Frank Gore, the speed of Michael Crabtree, the sacrifice of Randy Moss and an exciting defense and you have a team that could be headed to New Orleans with the Alex Smith Controversy in their back window. Of course that doesn’t mean that the home team & #1 seed over on the other side of the ball is going to go lie down like a wilted lettuce leaf at the end of Las Vegas Buffet. “Matty Ice” finally won a playoff game and the Falcons exorcised a whole lot of playoff demons when that field goal split the uprights. Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, Julio Jones & Michael Turner will help key the offense while the defense will have some explaining to do for last week in order to write their ticket to New Orleans.
But what’s a Souper Bowl without a Battle of the Soups ?
Bodega Bay Cioppino (San Francisco)
Grilled Vidalia Onion Soup (Atlanta)
Anyone who has read some of my earlier blogs know that I now know my way around a Cioppino and this Bodega Bay variety from Northern California has a great mix of seafood all-stars (offense) combined with a zesty red sauce (defense) that you just want to sop up with sourdough bread. The Grilled Vidalia Onion Soup is a more than slightly different version of a French Onion Soup that we all love & know so well that gets its New Orleans connection from the splash of sherry at the end. It makes for a great battle but in the end, the sourdough bread will make the difference.
San Francisco 31 Atlanta 30
(I’ll take the grilled Vidalia onion soup myself)
American Food-ball Conference
The Baltimore Ravens at The New England Patriots
The Say Goodbye To Ray Tour didn’t come to end in Denver like everyone thought it would and so now we have a rematch of last season’s American Food-ball Conference Championship Game and it’s being played on the exact same field. The big question is, will it have the exact same result ? The Ravens defense has come back to life on thanks to both the return of Ray Lewis from injury and from the fact that he has announced that he will retire at the end of his playoff run this year. Throw in quarterback Joe Flacco coming out of his late season funk and suddenly Baltimore is one step away from New Orleans instead of having one foot in the football grave. Of course the Walking Talking Touchdown Tossing Ken Doll and his team of seemingly interchangeable parts just keeps winning & winning. Throw in a dose of revenge for an early season loss at the hands of these same Ravens and you have more than enough motivation in the nightcap.
So which Chowder will get to stroll down Canal Street in two weeks ?
Creole Crab and Corn Chowder (Baltimore)
Allana’s Zesty Red Clam Chowder (New England)
When I think of Maryland, I think of crabs. When I think of crab soup, I usually think of crab & corn. When I think of a crab dish that could get the Ravens to the Souper Bowl in New Orleans this year I think of this soup. The creole seasonings that abound in this soup are a tribute to Ray Lewis and the rest of the Baltimore defense. When I think of New England, I usually think of a fairly tame & traditional creamy white clam chowder but this game is in New Orleans and you need to bring some excitement to the table if you want to stand out on Bourbon Street. Out of the four recipes I picked today, this was the only one that was already in my recipe box and out of these four teams, the Patriots are the only ones that have been to the Souper Bowl this century.
New England 27 Baltimore 20
(corn & crab vs clam ? I take corn & crab every time)
So those are my picks for who is going to The Souper Bowl in New Orleans. What do you think and what soups would you pick for either these teams or for your favorite team ? See you in New Orleans !