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Clifton Brown's NFL playoff predictions and reactions to coaching carousel

Clifton Brown's NFL playoff predictions and reactions to coaching carousel

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.

Related: Ravens have two of the NFL's top 25 free agents

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.


“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.