“A father makes all the difference.” – Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) in ‘The Natural.’

 

This coming Monday would be my Dad’s 78th birthday.  It’s almost three years since he’s passed and I’m still hurting.  I hurt every day.  I miss him every day.  Time hasn’t healed jack shit and you know what?  I’m not sure it’s really supposed to.

I am no longer tethered to this Earth in the same way, now that both my parents are gone.  Billy Crystal taught me that in “700 Sundays.”  My outlook has changed, my cynicism has increased but through it all, life is good.

It almost wasn’t.  For a few months after I lost him, I was spiraling until a few friends, two in particular, picked me up.  The man you know as Big Daddy Graham pressed some tough love upon me and my lifelong friend, Darren Atlee, came by more times to simply, be there.  His mere presence alone was invaluable.  These days, it’s my wife and kids that carry the load of keeping me positive.

The holidays are a very special time yet I know I’m not the only one that needs a little extra cheer and laughter.  So, keep your friends and loved ones in mind.  It can be a difficult time for many but don’t let that be the case for the ones you care about.  Life ain’t easy, Charlie Brown, so put a little love in your heart and give an extra hug this holiday season.

The Eagles sure gave their fans an extra hug last Sunday in New England.  I haven’t had that much fun watching a game in a long time but can they sustain this newfound success?

The Pick:  Yes, last week was really fun but when you break it down, without three very fluky plays against the Patriots, the Birds likely lose that game big, not that I’m taking anything away from them.  Though, I need to be realistic in my analysis.  Much has been made about Sam Bradford’s pass to Riley Cooper late in the game but the man threw for 120 yards total.  120!  Philly’s offensive woes continue, despite a realization by head coach Chip Kelly that the running game needs to flow through Darren Sproles, rookie Kenjon Barner and, when healthy, Ryan Mathews.  Another positive from last Sunday was the defensive adjustment to let Vinny Curry get more reps off the edge and change to a cover 2 in the secondary.

If I’m Buffalo, I draw up about 60 pass plays for Sunday, most of them off of play action against an Eagles defense that will surely be keyed in on their former teammate, running back Lesean McCoy.  I’m also more than concerned about the linebackers as Kiko Alonso and Demeco Ryans continue to try and play duct taped together.  Philly still has a shot to win the division but if they really want to, Sunday is pivotal.  Buffalo 24 Philadelphia 20

 

With a heavy heart this weekend, here is YOUR Week 14 NFL What 2 Watch 4…

 

Seattle at Baltimore.  The Seahawks, now 7 – 5, appear to have gotten their ‘you know what’ together and may face quarterback Jimmy Clausen for the second time this year.  Clausen, if injured backup Matt Schaub can’t go, would be the 6th QB in NFL history to start 2 games for 2 different teams in the same season.  He would be the 5th to start against the same team in the same season.  The man who, frankly, has no business playing at the pro level, also started against Seattle earlier this year as a member of the Chicago Bears.

 

Atlanta at Carolina.  Two things here.  Can Atlanta stop the freefall or will Carolina push their unblemished record to 13 – 0?

 

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.  The Bengals are trying to wrap up the AFC North but this Stiller offense looks like it could put a 40 spot on anyone.

 

San Diego at Kansas City.  The Chargers may be the league’s most disappointing team in 2015 at 3 – 9.  The Chiefs have won 6 in a row to skyrocket to 7 – 5.

 

Oakland at Denver.  If the Raiders are going to stay in the Wildcard race, Sunday is a must win against a ferocious Brockos defense.  Yes, Sam Farmer.  I said Denver Brockos.

 

Dallas at Green Bay.  I just want to see the Packers win this game by 60.  Dallas sucks.

 

New England at Houston.  Suddenly, this game is interesting but with both Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski practicing this week and the Pats coming off back to back losses for the first time since 2012, the Texans could be in big trouble.

 

Miami at New York Giants.  If every Giants (5 – 7) game ended 75 seconds short in 2015, New York would be 10 – 2.  Wow.

 

And finally, I want to thank anyone and everyone who has read my columns here on Voodoobrown.com each week.  This will be my last regularly scheduled, until further notice.  Corporate America and my family will be my only focus for a while.  I’ll still be doing some stuff here for the site so, please, continue to check back regularly.  We’ve got lots of good writers here with lots of great things to say.  Hopefully, I’ll find the time to get back to contributing regularly.  Go Birds!

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Darren DeGaetano
A lifelong buddy of Voodoo Brown's, Darren was born in Philadelphia and resides with his family in South Jersey. His resume includes ten years producing sports radio in Philadelphia and five years as a writer, director and producer for NFL Films. His weekly NFL NOTES & MUSINGS column provides his thoughts, anecdotes and eye opening statistics that happened over the previous weekend. Additionally, every Friday, Darren offers his "What 2 Watch 4" column to set you up for the coming weekend football action. Darren's best known annual piece features his Darrentees, a collection of NFL bold and not so bold predictions for the season at hand. Finally, Darren is a full time NFL Insider for Philadelphia's Sportsradio 94.1 WIP and co-hosts the Thursday night / Friday morning overnight show with Big Daddy Graham and can be heard on the official Philadelphia Eagles post-game show. He also likes red wine. Lots and lots of red wine.

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