It’s the last real football Sunday of the season. It’s OK to cry a bit.

Last week: 0-4 (!)
Overall: 53-53-2 (!!!)

Oh man, last week was good. It was soooo good. Granted, I turned off the New England game to watch the Golden Globes red carpet, but you know, Jennifer Lawrence. Aside from that, the playoffs have been amazing. And now there are only three games left. This is the last true NFL weekend with multiple games. Then it’s the nothingness of the Pro Bowl, followed by a week of pregame shows, a five minute national anthem, sh*tty beer commercials and Beyoncé. Also some football. But mostly Beyoncé.

San Francisco 49ers -4.5 at Atlanta Falcons

I feel like the 49ers are getting too much credit here. Atlanta is the one seed after all, and they are dominant at home. And yet I can’t not pick the 49ers. They feel like the best team going, regardless of everything else. A few other thoughts on this game…

• Favorites are 6-2 in the playoffs against the spread this year (via RJ at Pregame). It may be because the NFL is a crapshoot and more gamblers are taking the points where they can get them, but maybe it’s an important trend that will continue for the rest of time.
• Despite Aldon Smith’s individual numbers, San Francisco’s pass rush isn’t very good. Aaron Rodgers dropped back 39 times last week and they only got to him once. And Aaron Rodgers gets sacked more often than Chelsea’s manager. Soccer jokes! Seriously though, fire Rafa Benitez already.
• Only Michael Crabtree caught more than two passes for San Francisco last week. Vernon Davis needs the ball this week. A lot.

Baltimore Ravens +10 (-145) at New England Patriots

No. Do not WANT. This is the Jessica Simpson/Nick Bakay NBC pilot in football form. It’s a confluence of elements that only awful people could want. We have to choose between the fahkin Greatriots (again) or two full weeks of a Ray Lewis victory lap. I’ll take the Ravens to cover, but not win. Although it would be fun to see Joe Flacco drive up the price on the Ravens a bit more. Other thoughts…

• The Ravens defense is average and full of old f*cks running on fumes Adderall (probably). New England will run 100 plays and leave them sucking wind in the second half.
• Gronk’s busted arm means he is free to stay home and hang out with his goat.

• Lots of people around DC think that since the Skins are out of it we should be rooting for Baltimore. These people do not understand how much I hate Baltimore. If they played Dallas in the Super Bowl my rooting interests would be a game-time decision.

Enjoy the games. And if you gamble, try to do better than me.

Continue after the jump for the Top Chef play-by-play and power rankings.

Let me start by saying that due to travel, I watched this a day late. So when I woke up on Thursday morning and checked Twitter to make sure that Manti Te’o hadn’t started dating Taylor Swift I saw this.


AHHHH! What? No. No. No. No. First of all, you didn’t have to put her name in the tweet, Tom. Second of all, I am a broken man. So let’s dive in and see what happened, then I’ll read your blog.

Opening: The episode starts with everyone sitting around the table smoking cigarettes because they are chefs and smoking improves your palette (source: science).

Elimination challenge: It’s Restaurant Wars. For real this time. Since Micah got the boot it’s four (ladies) versus three (gentlemen). Sheldon is sticking with his Filipino concept Urbano, and his teammates don’t really know what that means because it’s the one Asian cuisine that doesn’t deliver. He tells them it’s “sour sour sour” with no herbs. They are concerned.

Kristen is going with a classical reverso french type thing.

The chefs learn they have to build an outdoor kitchen along with the rest of the restaurant. They head out in their fancy TOYOTAS to drive all over town looking for colorful napkins. Josie wants fiery orange napkins, because everything she thinks is wrong. Fortunately Brooke is there to tell her so. Stefan is shopping for flowers when he stops to note that people think all Europeans are gay because they like flowers and pebbles. Well, yeah.

Nobody actually buys any ovens or stoves or anything, but they magically appear through the science of editing.

And now an exchange between executive chef Sheldon, and Stefan, who has taken the reigns on restaurant design…

“I like the farmer’s table.” -Sheldon

“Screw the farmer’s table.” – Stefan

Yeah, they don’t get the farmer’s table. Nobody seems to care what happened to the farmer.

Sheldon is clearly not the strongest leader, and Stefan is a crazy asshole. By the time they “open” he will have annexed Kristen’s restaurant, slaughtered the women and puts their heads on pikes to impress Danny Meyer.

Hey, Josie, weren’t you going to roast those bones you keep talking about. “Nah, I’m way too busy talking. I’ll do it tomorrow, maybe. Chillax.” Paraphrasing, but yeah, still the worst.

That’s a wrap for the prep day. Josie never did roast her bones, which means that they key element of her bouillabaisse hasn’t been started. Back to the apartment for cigarettes, booze and possibly a Healthy Choice dinner.

At home Brooke gets some mail from home. It’s a bunch of drawings from her four year-old son. They aren’t very good, but she still likes them for some reason. Must be a parent thing.

Meanwhile, we learn that Josie doesn’t agree with Kristen’s plan to cook food to order (something Josie does horribly wrong every week), but will do what Kristen says because she’s a good soldier. Like any good soldier, she takes her complaints and inside information directly to the opposition.

We’re back at the restaurants opening day. Kristen says if her dishes don’t come off she’ll take responsibility, but nobody better fuck up her shit. Oh hey, Josie’s fucking up her shit! They’re a half an hour from service and her broth still isn’t done. Now there’s no time to add gelatin. So just guessing here, but Josie will fuck everything up for Kristen, but it’s ultimately the executive chef who has to fall on her sword-shaped knife. My urge to turn the show off right now is overwhelming.

But no, I must press on.

Stefan thinks he’s going a great job at the front of the house. I’m pretty sure he’s scaring the hell out of everyone.

Padma’s legs make an appearance! They are attached to Padma’s torso, and followed by non-Padma judges including Tom, Emeril, and the aforementioned Mr. Meyer. Kristen is eager to impress the latter with her design, seeing as how he is the kingmaker of New York cuisine. And good news, everyone loves the look of the place.

The bouillabaisse isn’t coming out right. Kristen wishes she had a dishwasher instead of Josie. It’s not clear if she means a low-level human or an actual Whirlpool number, but I’m sure either would suffice. Everything is a fucking disaster. Even if the sauce came out right they’d still be in the weeds. The judges can tell that the sauce is totally fucked, as can the laypeople.

Speaking of laypeople, they just won’t leave Sheldon’s restaurant. Stefan is trying to scare them away, but they claim that they haven’t even eaten dessert. Stefan is about to start tipping over tables.

Everybody dining at Kristen’s restaurant wants to see the kitchen, and everyone at Sheldon’s restaurant just wants to hang out and drink after they have finished eaten. People who eat the food on Top Chef are assholes. Stefan should probably attack them.

The judges finish up at Kristen’s place, and head next door to Sheldon’s Filipino Funhouse (aka Urbano). Stefan gives a half-assed explanation to the judges on one course, then never even bothers to stop by the table for the third course. When they ask he gives them some bullshit. They all hate Stefan right now.

Service is over, and it’s still light outside. Is that weird? That seems weird. Television is very weird. The judges say Stefan should go home for his service, and Josie should go home for her bouillabaisse. I agree with both of these sentiments. Let’s sit back and watch how things turn on my beloved.

Josie throws Kristen under that chef-crushing bus, but Kristen restrains herself from returning fire. They ask why there was no gelatin in the bouillabaisse and Kristen doesn’t scream, “HER! IT WAS HER! THAT BITCH WAITED UNTIL THE LAST FUCKING MINUTE TO MAKE HER CUNTY BROTH.” Bummer.

On the lady’s side, Lizzie and Kristen are safe. Tom asks about the gelatin again, and Kristen STILL won’t blame Josie for not finishing her broth on time to finish the dish properly.

Josie continues to crush Kristen. This is torture. Just awful. I can’t tell if I want to hit reset on the season or just fast forward through to April or whenever the fuck this ends.

Josie plays the “I’m an easy target” role in the stew room. Yeah, there’s a reason for that, and it’s not your bright red self-branded headband (although that’s part of it). Everyone in there resents Josie. You know, more than usual.

Elminated: Kristen (Last week: 1)- No words. Take your pick.

6. Josie (7)– “We’ve been down this road with Josie before. I can’t help but feel that she’s skating by.” I’ve never been so attracted to Gail Simmons before, and she’s not even wearing anything low-cut.

5. Lizzie (6)– She spent the whole episode staying the fuck away from the Kristen/Josie mess. Hell, she’s spent the whole season staying out of the way. She must have gone to culinary school at Milford’s sister school.

4. Josh (5)- He’s definitely getting stronger as the weeks go on. His coddled egg dish, while not in keeping with the restaurants theme, looked delicious.

3. Stefan (4)– If he were a doctor he’d be the oncologist from 50/50.

2. Sheldon (3)- Nearly lost in all of the madness was the fact that Sheldon won himself a TOYOTA. Stay on message, Top Chef. As for the food, his adobo pork belly was the clear winner of the evening. It’s the one Filipino dish everyone knows and loves, except for Stefan, who calls it Adobe.

1. Brooke (2)- She’s too young and pretty to have opened four restaurants already. Danny Meyer will probably hire her and then attempt to seduce her. He will be done in by his weird mom jeans.

Last Chance Kitchen: Kristen versus CJ, who has broken some sort of record by winning six of these. Even though Sally Jenkins swears he’s clean, but I think he’s MSGing. Since these are two of the best chefs they are going to pick their own rules…in draft form. CJ picks the 30 minute time limit, Kristen picks snapper for the protein, CJ picks a smoking gun as a cooking method and Kristen goes with French for their inspiration.

CJ figures Kristen may have never used a smoking gun, and he’s right. She figures it out! “It’s like lighting a bong!” I love you I love you I love you. Tom comes over to talk to her and she walks away. Oh man, this is 100,000x better than the regular show. Every week should be CJ vs. Kristen. Call it best of seven and fuck everybody else.

I can’t wait for her to destroy Josie in Last Chance Kitchen.

Tom’s Explanation: I guess people were destroying Tom on Twitter for allowing Josie to live, so he responded with a perfectly reasonable explanation. Kristen refused to blame Josie for fucking up, and the judges just didn’t ask the right questions to bring out the truth. He concedes that Kristen’s behavior truly is befitting a Top Chef, while Josie is a horrible troll person (you have to read the words he didn’t write).

Next week: David Chang! That should make up for the two best chefs being at home. Tom announces that he’s in the mood for fried chicken, which begs the question, is anyone ever not in the mood for fried chicken? Padma calls somebody a bullshitter. Probably because they claimed they weren’t in the mood for fried chicken.

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