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As summer draws to a close and the temperatures begin to dip, football fans across the United States are eagerly anticipating the start of the NFL season. With the kickoff just over a week away, many sports enthusiasts are gearing up for what promises to be another exciting year of professional football. One of the biggest storylines heading into opening day is the return of fans to stadiums. Last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, nearly all NFL games were played without fans in attendance, leaving stadiums eerily quiet.

But with vaccination rates climbing and health guidelines easing, several teams have already announced plans to welcome fans back this season. Another hot topic among fans is the quarterback shuffle that’s been taking place across the league. Perhaps the most high-profile change has been the trade of former Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. The move reunites Stafford with his former offensive coordinator, Sean McVay, and gives the Rams a strong signal-caller to replace Jared Goff.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots made a splash in the offseason by signing former MVP Cam Newton, only to release him this week in favor of rookie Mac Jones. The Pats are hoping that Jones’ accuracy and efficiency will help spark an offense that struggled mightily in 2020. But while the QB position is often the most talked-about in football, there are plenty of talented players at other positions that are poised to have big seasons.

Perhaps none is more electrifying than Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who has developed a reputation as one of the game’s most lethal deep threats. Last year, he racked up over 1,200 receiving yards and National Post Today 15 touchdowns, helping lead the Chiefs to their second straight Super Bowl appearance. On the defensive side of the ball, all eyes will be on edge rusher Myles Garrett, who signed a record-breaking contract extension with the Cleveland Browns this offseason.

Garrett is widely regarded as one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive players, with the ability to wreak havoc on opposing offenses with his speed and power. Of course, with the start of a new season also comes the inevitable injuries, and several key players have already been bitten by the injury bug. Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz underwent foot surgery earlier this month, leaving his status for the season opener in doubt.

Meanwhile, San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert recently underwent a knee procedure that will keep him out for at least the first eight weeks of the season. Despite these setbacks, however, fans remain optimistic that this year’s NFL season will be as thrilling as ever. With a slate of highly anticipated matchups on tap and a fresh crop of rookies and veterans ready to hit the field, football fans are eagerly counting down the days until kickoff.