The National Food-Ball League Playoffs - Wild Card Round - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 318984

Swampy's Kitchen

The National Food-Ball League Playoffs - Wild Card Round 
Jan. 3, 2014 5:01 pm 
Updated: Jan. 7, 2014 12:25 pm

Over the past 17 weeks The National Football League has played a total of 512 games on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays. Some teams won more often than others and when the three yards and a cloud of dust finally settled last Sunday night, there were 12 teams left standing to compete in the National Football League Playoffs. Those 12 teams all have one goal in mind, they all want to make it to New York in the first weekend of February for Super Bowl XLVIII and I am here to tell you each week who is going to win & why. But this is a food website and not a sports website so that means that we need to put a foodie spin on pigskin prognostications so without further ado, let’s get right to the 2014 National Food-Ball League Playoffs.


The Denver Broncos, led by Peyton Manning, his record breaking golden arm & a squadron of receivers more lethal than the Red Baron, and the New England Patriots, led by their Walking Talking Touchdown Tossing Ken Doll, both have the week off this week due to their superior play during the regular season. This leaves Seeds #3-6 to do battle.

(Notice of Full Disclosure – I am a Denver Broncos fanatic and HATE all the other teams in the AFC West)


To me, the San Diego Chargers are nothing more than a bad tasting fish taco. In fact, a bad tasting Tilapia fish taco is more like it. (If you read my predictions & follow up blog a few seasons ago you would know how I feel Tilapia and it’s not good). They did finish the season on a roll winning their final 4 games and they did get lucky when the refs blew the call in overtime in the final week and they snuck in with some help from some big time chokers. Looking right at the Ravens & the Dolphins with that comment but we will leave that for next September. Quarterback Philip Rivers does have a new toy to play with in rookie WR Keenan Allen but I do think that this week, their luck runs out. The Cincinnati Bengals have been a quiet surprise in the AFC North all season. Quarterback Andy Dalton has had the finest season since Carson Palmer knew how to play and AJ Green is a legitimate threat to score every time they touch the ball. Of course when I think of Cincinnati in a culinary way, I can only think of Cincinnati Chili. I have to admit I have never had Cincinnati Chili not have any idea what makes it different than any other regional chili, I just remember that there was a Cincinnati-style Chili Restaurant in Denver back in the late 80’s that I drove by over a hundred times but never stopped in to try it. If I still lived in Denver, this would be the week for me to stop in since I am definitely taking The Bengals & the Chili over the chargers & their nasty tasting tilapia taco.


There is only one team in professional football that I hate more than the Kansas City Chiefs and they haven’t made the playoffs in years so we don’t even need to mention their name due to how terrible they are. Oakland Raiders. That being said, the Chiefs were the darlings of the first half of the season as they ran off 9 straight wins over a schedule of teams no tougher than a bowl of overcooked limp noodles. New quarterback Alex Smith utilized the spectacular feet of Jamaal Charles & the hands of Dwayne Bowe to rack up points on offense while the defense beat people up. The second half of the schedule did show some weaknesses. They remind me a bit of the BBQ that Kansas City is famous for. Looks good and starts strong but really is a a bit overrated. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they are playing the Colts and a quarterback named Luck who seems to be able to pull off game winning drives like his name has nothing to do with it. The Colts have been inconsistent but have played well on the bigger stage. Familiarity within the league can sometimes cause a 2nd year player to suffer a Sophomore Jinx but that wasn’t the case with Andrew Luck as a lot of teams still couldn’t quite figure him out. The same can be said about me with the food of Indiana. In years past I have had people suggest Milk Pie and a Wild Rice dishes but to be honest, my only real experience with the food of Indiana goes back to 1981 when I spent the night in South Bend and ate dinner at a Godfather’s Pizza across the street from the Best Western. A year later Godfather’s Pizza went public and I bought some stock because I thought the pizza was good. The stock went through the roof a year later in a takeover bidding war and I wound up with enough money to buy a Subaru Station Wagon and that is a good enough reason for me to pick the Colts over the chiefs despite the fact I am sucker for good barbecue.


The Seattle Seahawks led by a smothering defense, a too small quarterback and bruising running back who almost set off an earthquake himself a few years back absolutely ran away with the NFC this season. The other 5 teams are going to really have to step up their games to take away the Seahawks expected February jaunt to New York. One team that could step up that challenge has done so all year in a very surprising fashion. I don’t think anyone is going to sleep on the Carolina Panthers now like they did during the season. Next week will be a big tell as to how serious a threat this team really is to the Seahawks.


There is nothing about Cajun food that I don’t like and on the surface, there is nothing about the New Orleans Saints on the surface that you can’t not like either. Drew Brees is a master at tossing the ball to his catch happy receivers & running backs. The defense, such a sore spot last year, has come back with a vengeance under Rob (get a haircut already, you look ridiculous) Ryan. Unfortunately for the Saints, there won’t be any home cooking on their menu as they have to go on the road to Philadelphia and the Saints have been less than good away from home. Kind of like a day old Po’ Boy. The fried fish is cold & greasy, the fixin’s are limp and the bread is soggy. The ingredients are all there, they just don’t come together. Can’t put that kind of sandwich up against a Philly Cheesesteak and expect to come away victorious. Under first year coach Chip Kelly and reserve no name quarterback Nick Foles, the Eagles have ridden the Shady McCoy hard & fast all the way the top of the NFC Least, one of the two divisions nobody wanted to win. They play an exciting brand of football and they play better away from home. This could be a case where the fans in Philly get to boo like Santa is wearing a Cowboys jersey. A hot Po’Boy beats a Philly Cheesesteak in my book (mainly because I am a New Yorker at heart and hate everything about Philadelphia) so I am hoping that the Saints can keep this one warm enough to get the job done.


The Niners have owned the Packers of late but when you are playing playoff football on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field at the base of Mount Lombardi, home of the Football Gods, nothing is safe bet. San Francisco went to the Super Bowl last year on the arm & legs of Colin Kapernick and they will need him to respond under the bright icy lights in order to keep them on the road north to Seattle. The Niners do remind me a bit of a tray of wine & cheese – everyone’s fallback for cocktails with nothing really memorable about them. The Green Bay Packers won the other division, the NFC North, that no else seemed to want to win this season. It wasn’t until their injured photobombing discount doublecheck quarterback came back that the Packers snuck a receiver behind the should have been suspecting Bears secondary for a last minute expected victory. Much like I expected the Packers to win that game, I expect their fans to tout their brats & beer cheese soup. Give me the choice between wine & cheese and brats & cheese and I am going to take the Wisco food every time. I haven’t had a drink in 25 years.

So in conclusion, the picks are as follows:

Bengals over Chargers (Chili over tilapia fish tacos)

Colts over Chiefs (Pizza memories over my love of BBQ)

Saints over Eagles (Po’Boys beat cheesesteaks)

*Upset Special* Packers over Niners (Brats & Cheese over Wine & Cheese)

Now tell me what you think – football or food-ball.

Jan. 3, 2014 5:33 pm
Hi Doug, I found this very interesting and I don't care for football very much. The only time I watch football is The Grey Cup in November, and only if by chance a team in Alberta is in it. Prefer Edmonton as that's where I grew up. Thank you for sharing.
Jan. 3, 2014 5:35 pm
Now you know Doug I am going to root root for the Eagles and I will always love my cheese steak. :) Let the games commence.
Jan. 3, 2014 6:50 pm
gosh I do look forward to this blog! ok, my picks...bengals, colts, eagles and packers.
Jan. 3, 2014 7:43 pm
gderr showing you my love! Go Eagles
Jan. 3, 2014 8:48 pm
I couldn't be more thrilled with the improvements I've seen in my Chiefs this year - so don't be a hater! Although I DO share your hatred toward the Raiders! My picks are: Bengals, Chiefs, Saints and Niners! Food-Ball wise - Chili definitely over Fish Tacos, Good Pizza vs Good BBQ - a toss-up, Cheesesteaks over Po'Boys and I'll take the wine over the brats! Let the games begin!
Jan. 4, 2014 8:06 am
Good morning Manella - The CFL is always an entertaining watch though I would think that being from Edmonton you would have nothing but visions of 99 Pucks in your head. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.
Jan. 4, 2014 8:07 am
It's going to be a cold one tonight Joey. Saints have trouble enough on the road but the weather really works in your Iggles favor. Should be a fun game to watch.
Jan. 4, 2014 8:09 am
Good morning gderr - looks like we are almost on the same page of this particular cookbook. Tonight's Saints-Iggles game should be an interesting one. As a Falcons fan I can see why you want to see the Saints lose. Have a great weekend.
Jan. 4, 2014 8:10 am
Good morning Mi - your Chiefs are a completely different team and I probably haven't been all that impartial about them but I'm a Broncos fan, can you blame me ? Like your food picks. Have a great weekend
Jan. 4, 2014 8:26 am
Go Colts! Sorry Mi! Doug, you must come to Indiana and have a Breaded Pork Tenderloin! My treat! We'll be having wings today and hopefully a victory!
Jan. 4, 2014 9:44 am
I would like the Colts to beat the Chiefs. Since Denver lost to the Colts. I would like to see Peyton Manning get another chance to beat the Colts. I had Drew Brees on my Fantasy Football Team last year, so I hope the Saints keep winning until the Super Bowl. Then the Super Bowl better be painted orange and blue with Peyton Manning at the helm.
Jan. 4, 2014 9:58 am
Great blog Doug!
Jan. 4, 2014 10:38 am
All I can say is "Who Dat"!!! Go my precious Saints, beat those stinky Eagles!! Tonight at 7pm our time, can't wait and already have the TV set to turn it on at 7. Geaux Saints!!
Jan. 4, 2014 10:38 am
I am a sad sad Bills fan and life hasn't been the same since the wide right. I did love your blog though! Well done!
Jan. 4, 2014 11:23 am
As always Doug, well written, and I couldn't have said it better myself with the line, "...walking, talking, touchdown-tossing Ken doll." I am with you on all your picks except the Chiefs vs Colts. As a fellow Broncos fan, I would rather play the Colts next week but I don't know that we're going to get that chance. Kansas City is hungry; they've been such a crappy team for so long. Regardless, I am wishing, hoping and praying that this is the year that all God's people (Broncos fans) will finally be able to say, "Amen!"
Jan. 4, 2014 11:27 am
And by the way, we're having chili. Turkey Chili. We aren't the healthiest state in the nation for nothing!
Jan. 4, 2014 12:18 pm
Hey there Lucky Noodles - thanks for stopping in - so tell me, what is it about an Indiana Breaded Pork Tenderloin that makes it so special ?
Jan. 4, 2014 12:20 pm
Hi Lela - we want to make sure we don't get too far ahead of ourselves but I fully expect Eli to be getting the guest room ready in February for Peyton.
Jan. 4, 2014 12:20 pm
Thanks Cliff - have a great weekend
Jan. 4, 2014 12:21 pm
Geaux Saints ! Who Dat Cindy ? My wife is also a Saints fan so we will have some cajun flair going on at our house tonight.
Jan. 4, 2014 12:23 pm
Hi & thanks Volleyballmom - as the anti-Giants fan that I am, I feel the pain of wide right. My brother in law is also a Bills fan so I am seen your pain firsthand. Have a great weekend
Jan. 4, 2014 12:25 pm
Hey Naan - the Chiefs are hungry and if the game were in the unfriendly confines of a bathed in red Arrowhead, I wouldn't give the Colts a chance but it isn't and Luck will be on Andrew's side. Turkey Chili sounds good but I am waiting for the Super Bowl for my next pot. Have a great weekend
Jan. 4, 2014 1:14 pm go dungeness crab!!!- oops- i mean go seahawks!!- great blog!! love it- you are always so much fun!!
Jan. 4, 2014 1:33 pm
Good afternoon & thank you nanny129 STAR! - I always appreciate a good recipe - did you know that Alaska Airlines once made me fly on Seahawk One back when Seattle was still in the AFC West. What a miserable flight..... B-)
Jan. 4, 2014 8:31 pm
I think I heard some bad news about those Eagles..... Who Dat? !!!! What's for dinner now?
Jan. 5, 2014 5:18 am
Yes Baking Nana the story for the iggles is bad. Lost by 2 points. Eagles fans today are sad.
Jan. 5, 2014 8:18 am
Good morning campergramma - quite the game yesterday - what a wild 4th quarter. I hope today's games measure up.
Jan. 5, 2014 8:20 am
Good morning BN - looks like the Saints are headed to the land of salmon & coffee next week - their last visit to Seattle was not pretty. Should be a fun game.
Jan. 5, 2014 8:22 am
Hi Joey - as an Eagles fan, if you expect to be disappointed, are you disappointed when your expectations are met ? Now trade Vick for something useful if you can. Have a great Sunday.
Jan. 5, 2014 9:06 am
That was such an exciting first game yesterday. I wouldn't have been able to stand it if I were a fan of either team! As for today...Go PACKERS! Nice predictions Doug
Jan. 5, 2014 1:27 pm
would you fire marvin lewis? chargers are playing with house money now. peyton better start coaching up the bronco's defense too.
Jan. 5, 2014 1:50 pm
Doug, as an Eagle fan I was hoping but well it wasn't meant to be. Vic gone would be a dream come true at least I think so.
Jan. 6, 2014 3:45 am
Looks like I got Saturday right and Sunday wrong. I am going to have to do better than that in the next round. Any recipe/menu suggestions for your team or city are appreciated. See you later in the week.
Jan. 6, 2014 7:55 am
Well Doug, I say Orange Crushes all around over Yucky Tilapia Tacos. San Diego and Phillip Rivers come and enjoy the high altitude in Denver. Everyone in my family has their Denver Shirts Ready to Go!
Jan. 6, 2014 10:02 am
Go Colts!! Oh my Doug, I forgot all about God Father's Pizza. They moved out of the central Indiana area a long time ago, but I do remember them from when I was little. (I'm 40 yrs old.) There are lots of good choices for Indiana food! I didn't realize wild rice was an Indiana thing, and by milk pie, do you mean sugar cream pie? I grew up in the Indy area all my life and never heard of sugar cream pie, but as an adult I learned it was pretty popular in Amish areas, which there are quite a few in Indiana. I agree with Lucky Noodles, the fried pork tenderloin is an obvious Indiana food choice. The best ones are so big you have to fold them a few times so they fit onto the bun. They are crispy and crunchy on the outside but oh so tender on the inside. Served with mustard and a few slices of onion and paired with an ice cold rootbeer -- not that's an Indiana memory. :) Other Indiana favorites for me include persimmon pudding (my great-grandma had a persimmon tree), fried biscuits and apple butter, corn fritters, corn chowder, popcorn, and beef and noodles over mashed potatoes. Nice blog, as always Doug--thanks for the fun!
Jan. 6, 2014 10:04 am
Oops... meant to say "now" that's an Indiana memory.
Jan. 7, 2014 12:25 pm
This was a sad stretch for football in the Martin household. Our college bowls did not turn out well, and the Pack did not make the cut Sunday. Oh well, there's always next year. Hope yours turns out better, Doug!
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Doug Matthews

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Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

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Mar. 2000

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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