Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The NFL Playoffs and Anthony Bourdain

The NFL continued its march to the Super Bowl this past weekend with four Divisional playoff games.

In the Saturday NFC game, it was our beloved New Orleans Saints (13-3) at home against the Chicago-St. Louis-Phoenix-Arizona Cardinals (11-6) fresh off of a wild 51-45 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers in a Wildcard game.

Things got off to a rocky start as the Cardinals Tim Hightower gashed the Saint defense on the first play of the game on a 70 yards TD run!

The Saints were up to the challenge as the New Orleans offense scored three TDs in the first quarter and added two more in the second period to reach the half leading 35-14!!!

The unlikely hero/X-Factor for the Saints . . .

Reggie Bush???

I would have to say that this was his best game ever as a pro.

He for once ran with authority (5 carries for 84 yards and a TD), caught the ball well out of the backfield (4 for 24 yards) and returned 3 punts for 109 yards including an explosive/spectacular 83 yards one for a TD just for giggles.

Kurt Warner

The Cardinal QB has always been one of the GREAT stories in NFL history and I believe he deserves to someday be in the Hall-of-Fame.

Unfortunately, this image will be a lasting one from this game. He had just thrown an interception, was trying to make the tackle and got lit up by Saints DL Bobby McCray. Warner garners such great respect in the league that it seemed as if all of the Saints wanted to apologize for the clean, legal but devastating hit.

This happened just before halftime, Warner missed one series but was back at it the entire second half.

Final Score: New Orleans 45 - Arizona 14

As for the other three games, in the other NFC Divisional playoff game it was:
Minnesota (12-4) 34 - Dallas (12-5) 3
(Sorry Matteo)

In the two AFC Divisional playoff games it was:
Indianaplois (14-2) 20 - Baltimore (10-7) 3
New York Jets (10-7) 17 - San Diego (13-3) 14

The Conference Championship game will be played this coming Sunday. The match-ups are:

NFC Championship
Minnesota (13-4) at New Orleans (14-3)

AFC Championship
New York Jets (11-7) at Indianapolis (15-2)

My best guesses?

In the NFC, my heart wants the Saints to win but I am VERY concerned about the Vikings' relentless pass rush. My head says that "Defense Wins Championships!" and if that is true, I'd have to favor the Vikings.

Much has been made of Brett Favre throwing an 11 yards TD pass with 1:55 left in the game and the Vikings winning 27-3. Cowboys' LB Keith Brooking went off calling it ". . . totally classless and disrespectful!".

My first thought, Cowboys shut up and play defense. It was not the Vikings fault that you were so poorly prepared defensively.

My MUCH BIGGER second thought, that no one on talk radio has mentioned, is what is Brett Favre still doing in the game at this point? Do you remember Carson Palmer getting his knee rolled up accidently in the playoffs a few years ago? I know that it was at the very beginning of a game vs. Pittsburgh but my point is why do you still have the key to your season out there being exposed to potential injury long after the game is out of reach?

Karma can be an unforgiving wench.

I'll go with my heart, home field advantage and positive karma as I pick the Saints to go to the Super Bowl in Miami.

In the AFC, it is hard to pick against Peyton Manning but I like the Jets' playoff swagger.

Since I was an AFL fan in the 1960's and the Jets won Super Bowl III with Joe Namath's swagger, I'm going to say . . . "JETS, JETS, JETS!!!" A great Jets defense and an outstanding offensive line make my sentimental pick easier. The QB match up of Peyton Manning vs. Mark Sanchez doesn't.

Sports trivia: Name the five NFL franchises that have never been in a Super Bowl game? Put your answer on the comments tab below.

On the Travel Channel
Anthony Bourdain - NO RESERVATIONS

I watched an episode of this show this week and it featured the food and culture of Sicily. Most of it centered on the west side of Sicily featuring the cities of Palermo and Trapani as well as the nearby islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria.

In Palermo

Anthony had a spleen sandwich here, so did I!

Later as Anthony walked around Palermo, he stopped in a tailor shop that featured two tailors playing their mandolins rather than stitching new clothes together. By shear accident, I videotaped these same two gentleman at play two years ago with Christie and Jason.

The Taormina Film Festival

When the show did finally go to the east side, it stopped to have a picnics on Mt. Etna's crater and at the Greek Theatre in Taormina just before the Film Festival got started.

While they did do a nice segment on Sicilian cannoli, they failed to highlight the gelato.

How can they do a Food/Travel show on Sicily and not go to Jonathan's Panineria, Etoile d'Or or Al Tubo's, nor eat horse meat and not savor Spaghetti al Nero?

I think we need to do a Sicilian insider's Good/Travel show for American TV!



Giorgio... VERY interesting that you mention a food travel show that makes a stop in Sicily. That's all I'm legally allowed to say at this point :-)

George said...

AWESOME possibilities!!!

LDUTheCoach said...

The majority of people are taking the Colts to kill the Jets this week but you have to consider how well New York matches up against Indy. Indy has the worst running game in the league, and is ALL Peyton. The Jets have the #1 pass-defence and if they can put the clamps on Peyton early… it could very well be a Jets win. TheCoach isn’t calling a J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS win but they will cover the spread. I know Indy shut down Baltimore’s running game last week but the Jets strive on being quick and elusive.. something Ray Rice isn’t…

Minnesota and New Orleans is going to be such a good game. I was hoping all season long these two would meet up in the NFC Championship and honestly.. either team could team this game. The Saints are -3.0 favourites and historically home team get given three points for the home-field advantage… so basically this game is a pick-em and there is ONE thing that I like about the Saints and its that home-field advantage. Last week Warner and Romo combined for 7 sacks and 4 fumbles largely in part to not being able to communicate with their offence. The SuperDome is NUTS and I don’t care how much experience Favre has, the crowd can help a team and also hurt the other so much.

Feel free to check out my picks with scores (and of course cheerleader pictures) @ http://www.lionsdenu.com/category/sports/nfl-guide-2009-2010/

Best of luck to all this week,

Tim Marek, Nevada said...

Check out Man vs. Food on the Food Network...they are going to be at the Super Bowl with some big food challenges...The Host, Adam, is a eating machine. No reservation required for this one.

Ryan said...

George no internet research went into this at all, promise! My guess:

New Orleans

Can't wait to read about your adventures in Sweden. Hope every one is doing well. FYI, I start my student teaching FEB. 8th.


George said...

Buffalo lost 4 straight Super Bowls. The other 4 WERE correct until today when the Saints beat the Vikings.

The missing one was the Detroit Lions.

Claud said...



The "S" for plural does not belong to italian language