Last week in the Wild Card Round of the National Food-Ball League Playoffs (where yes, they actually compete to win) the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers & San Francisco 49ers all came away victorious. That meant that I was perfect with my picks on Saturday and perfectly awful with my picks on Sunday. They say you can’t win them all and that is probably why the Las Vegas Casinos throw a ticker tape parade whenever I come to town but that is neither here nor there and irrelevant to this story. It also means that we are a week closer to determining who is going to wind up playing outside in Giants Stadium on that first Sunday in February.
Now if the Souper Bowl had been played this week, the Polar Vortex that gripped the nation would have been quite a factor in the game. I can tell you from personally pounding the streets of Manhattan that it was cold and the wind was fierce. In fact, with conditions like the ones we had this week, soup was on the menu at lunch just about every day, which led me to consider various types of soup when I started previewing the matchups this week in the National Food-Ball League Divisional Playoffs. So without further ado, let’s break out the ladle & bowls and start dishing on the games. (Boy did that ever sound cheesy)
Saturday January 11
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
Who Dat think they going to beat The 12th Man ? This is a re-match of a midseason blowout where the Seahawks dismantled the Saints like a fishmonger dismantles a salmon down at The Pike Place Market. Last week however, the Saints broke a franchise long losing streak of road playoff games by winning in Philadelphia so the Saints are on a high. The Seahawks have looked somewhat human over the last few weeks but the week off and the controversy over Marshawn Lynch not speaking enough to the media are really all the fuel that Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks will need. While I do love me some Gumbo of just about every shape, flavor & size I do feel that the Salmon Chowder that the 12th Man will be bringing in from the tailgating parking lots is going to seeing the next round of the playoffs.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
The chic pick by so-called Football experts is the Colts. Everyone fell in love with their wild second half comeback last week against the hated (by me) Kansas City Chiefs but now they have to come to Foxboro to face the Walking Talking Touchdown Tossing Ken Doll Quarterback & his Hoodie wearing coach. The quarterback of the Colts may be named Luck but in New England his luck is going to run out. The ball won’t bounce off the turf & directly into his hands like it did last week on the game winning touchdown. In Foxboro, the Gods of Football tilt the field in one direction and one direction only. (I still don’t know how Baltimore won last year) So you can pair that Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich from Indiana that I heard so much about in the comments last week with just about any soup out there and it isn’t going to beat the good old fashioned creamy thick New England Clam Chowder that Giselle will be serving up after the game.
Sunday January 12
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
At the beginning of the season no one could have seen this game coming. The Carolina Panthers were not a team on anyone’s radar other than a North Carolina State Trooper’s. The 49ers were the defending NFC Champions and were expected to waltz easily to the Championship Game. Funny thing happened, they actually played the season and during the season, the Panthers even beat the Niners in San Francisco in a smashmouth game 10-9. This time the game is going to be played in Charlotte in front of some seriously playoff starved fans who can somewhat remember what a Souper Bowl tastes like. The Niners however, unlike the Panthers, are road weary & battle tested after their trip to the Frozen Tundra at the foot of Mount Lombardi. I fully expect Colin Kapernick to be serving up a big bowl of Cioppino (and I won’t slice off a part of my finger eating it) to counteract the Hatteras Style Chowder that I just googled as the top regional soup in North Carolina for Cam Newton & the Panthers. The Sourdough on the side may have been the tipping point.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
The Chargers were the team I least wanted the Broncos to face in the playoffs in that they are hungry, have nothing to lose and they know the Broncos all too well. Quarterback Philip Rivers is full of so much swagger & bravado at the moment that he thinks that a Bolo tie is high fashion (too some yes, to me, no – it’s a source of ridicule). He also has an overachieving undersized running back in Danny Woodhead who is playing larger than life and like I said last week, rookie WR Keenan Allen is just plain deadly as he slices through the secondary. Don’t count Peyton Manning and his aerial offense out though just because the Chargers dealt him his worst game of the season in Week 15. All four of his double digit touchdown grabbing receivers & running back Knowshon Moreno are ready to go & ready for revenge so they only pre-game tears we will be seeing are those the chargers fans getting ready for their beating. As for the soups, well last week that lousy tilapia fish taco somehow beat out a bowl of Cincinnati Style Chili but this week that lousy tilapia fish taco is going in a blender and being served alongside an Elk Chili that stands as proud as the Rocky Mountains that spread across Denver’s skyline. (I thought about using Colorado Buffalo but the Buffaloes up in Boulder were HORRIBLE this year on the gridiron so we really don’t want to cross contaminate)
So there you have it. This week’s picks are The Seahawks & their Salmon Chowder, The Patriots & their Creamy Clam Chowder, The Niners & their Cioppino with a sourdough side and The Broncos & their Bugling Elk Chili. What do you think ?
Come back next week when we review where I was right & where I was wrong in this week’s game while giving you insights & recipes for the Conference Championships.