My predictions for the divisional round, thoughts on the Ravens’ coaching staff, and my reaction to new head coaches:
1. This weekend’s winners:
Falcons over Seahawks: I could see Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan having a playoff run like Joe Flacco had in 2012.
Patriots over Texans: If Tom Brady makes it to the stadium, the Patriots should make it to the AFC championship game.
Steelers over Chiefs: Ask the Ravens how difficult it is to contain Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger for 60 minutes. As well as they are playing, I think the Steelers keep rolling.
Cowboys over Packers: Even with Aaron Rodgers doing his thing, losing Jordy Nelson hurts, and the Cowboys’ offensive line will allow Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant, and Ezekiel Elliott to take over.
2. The Ravens coaching staff:
Offensive line coach Juan Castillo will be leaving to join the Bills’ staff under new head coach Sean McDermott, according to the Baltimore Sun. With a running game guru like Greg Roman joining the Ravens’ staff, perhaps Castillo felt the Bills would be a better fit for him, and for the Ravens.
A name to watch for the Ravens is former Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who will not be kept on Denver’s new staff according to the Denver Post. Dennison was the Ravens quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Flacco had one of his best seasons. Flacco would welcome Dennison’s return to the Ravens staff, regardless of his role.
3. New NFL head coaching blood:
I’m all for Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Sean McVay (Rams), Sean McDermott (Bills), and Vance Joseph (Broncos) getting their head coaching opportunity. Success isn’t guaranteed for any of them. But this year, NFL owners seemed willing to choose the person they believed would perform the best, regardless of their age, their race, or whether they had been a head coach before.