It’s official ladies and gents–tonight’s showdown between four NFL contenders has now come down to the final two. The #2 Pittsburgh Steelers and #6 Green Bay Packers have clenched their division titles and are headed to Super Bowl XLV.
- Packers: Strong, effective leadership by QB Aaron Rodgers, who has not just led this year’s Packers to the Super Bowl, but is quickly becoming one of the best. During the regular season, Rodgers threw for 28 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards and had a passer rating of 101.0, all very impressive numbers. It was a close match, but two key interceptions brought the Packs to victory. The first, B.J. Raji “The Freezer” making a touchdown on an interception for the Packers. The second, with Sam Shields who intercepts in the last minute for Green Bay.
- Steelers: Defense, Defense, Defense! One of the most exciting plays of the game was when the Steelers hit New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and knocked the ball free. It was picked up by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back William Gay and returned 19-yards for a touchdown putting the Steelers up 24-0. Though the second half was close, the black and yellow held onto their lead and clenched the AFC title. Beautiful!
Who’s heading to Disneyworld? My vote is the Steelers. Though it’s been a season of nailbiters, the Steelers have managed to keep their cool down to the wire. They have a strong, seasoned QB and rocking defense to pull them through to the end. I don’t predict an easy win, however, as the Packers will bring a strong fight. I foresee a close game, perhaps a 24-14 Steelers victory? Time will tell.
In the meantime, I’ll be busy whipping up a batch of some hearty, healthy gameday chili…
Turkey Bean Pumpkin Chili
adapted from Serious Eats.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey (or beef for you red meat lovers)
2 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 14.5oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups (1 14.5 ounce can) pumpkin puree
1 12oz can tomato juice (or light ale beer-definitely worth trying)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Saute the onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Make room in the center of the skillet, add turkey, and brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, and juice. Season with chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt, and cayenne.
Reduce heat and simmer at least 20 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro. If preferred, serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream, and a hearty slice of Beer Bread…and a beer.