Craig: Football is back, and there are plenty of stories to follow

  • by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 5, 2013 - 4:18 PM

Sean Payton is back in the Big Easy. Andy Reid and Alex Smith are in Kansas City, having traded pink slips for sudden red-hot optimism on last year’s league laughingstock. And Chip Kelly is bouncing around Philadelphia like Tigger on double espresso, eagerly anticipating Monday night’s nationally televised unveiling of an even more hyperactive version of the other zone-read option offenses that were the talk of the 2012 NFL season. ¶ Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will be there in Washington, greeting Kelly’s Eagles and trying to prove that his right knee is as freakishly resilient as Adrian Peterson’s left knee was the year before. But first, in a rematch of last year’s double-overtime AFC divisional-round playoff game, Peyton Manning and the Broncos play host to the now-handsomely-paid and newly crowned Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco and what’s left of the reigning champion Ravens in Thursday night’s 2013 NFL season opener. (Watch out for them Hail Marys, Denver. They can change the course of history.) ¶ Without further delay, here are our nine story lines to follow and one man’s attempt to predict the unpredictable:

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Miami - LP: B. Morris 4 FINAL
Washington - WP: M. Grace 6
NY Yankees - LP: C. Martin 1 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 3
Philadelphia - WP: A. Harang 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1
Los Angeles - LP: C. Hatcher 3 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Blazek 4
Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop 9 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Socolovich 10
Oakland - LP: J. Hahn 7 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 8
Texas - WP: K. Kela 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 1
Arizona 0 Postponed
Colorado 0
Seattle - WP: F. Hernandez 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: M. Shoemaker 2
San Diego - LP: T. Ross 0 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 2
Chicago 99 FINAL
Cleveland 92
LA Clippers 117 FINAL
Houston 101
NY Rangers 0 FINAL
Washington 1
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