Seven months later, football is back! The 2013 NFL season will kick off this week as the Denver Broncos host the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.
Preseason is over, rosters are set and fans are itching to see their team play a game that matters. As we look at the NFC North heading into week one, there is a storyline to be found with each team.
The Chicago Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith and have begun the Marc Trestman era. The Bears hope that Trestman can get more out of quarterback Jay Cutler than could the defensive-minded Smith. The Bears will also be without star linebacker Brian Urlacher for the first time in over 12 seasons.
The Detroit Lions return much of their 2012 roster, which finished last season with a 4-12 record. It was a disappointment after the Lions made a playoff appearance following the 2011 season. Lost in last year’s dismal record was receiver Calvin Johnson’s record-setting season. Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s record for receiving yards in a season with 1,892. Johnson has said he has his sights set on a 2,000 yard season. On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit drafted defensive lineman Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, who had a strong preseason. Ansah joins a formidable Detroit defensive line that already includes Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh.