NFL preview: Baltimore Ravens v Denver Broncos to start new season
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 05/09/13 7:06pm
Joe Flacco back in action with the Ravens
The new NFL season returns with the Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens taking on Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium, live on Sky Sports.
The champions take their regular spot in opening up the new NFL season, but this year the Ravens have been forced to travel away from Baltimore due to a fixture clash with the city's baseball team.
So John Harbaugh has to take his team to Mile High and start the season with one of their toughest assignments on the road in a furious Denver side still reeling from their play-off meeting this winter.
Joe Flacco's optimistic Hail Mary should not have got to Jacoby Jones, but it did, and from there the ravens won in double overtime and eventually claimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a second time.
A lot of those faces have now departed though, with eight starters missing from the Ravens team, most notable team leader Ray Lewis and stalwart safety Ed Reed who have gone into retirement and to Houston respectively.
Flacco is back with a much healthier bank balance, but Anquan Boldin is gone after leading the assault as wide receiver during the play-offs last season.
Peyton Manning is now two years removed from neck surgery, and if last year was just to shake the rust off he should be even better this time around, although at 37 he may not go on for too much longer.
Baltimore's signing of former Broncos Elvis Dumervil is full of intrigue, after he only failed to remain with Denver due to a fax machine issue, and there will be more than a hint of irony if he evades the Ravens line to sack Manning.
The Denver quarterback does have a great new weapon this year though with receiver Wes Welker joining from the Patriots, and with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas already on board they now have a solid crop of wideouts.
So, revenge is in the air as well as the excitement at the start of a new season, it should be some game to kick-off the return of NFL to our screens.