NFL: 3 storylines to watch

Peyton Manning

1. End of an era for the Colts?

The Indianapolis Colts have been the undisputed kings of the AFC South since 2003, winning seven division titles and one Super Bowl in eight highly successful seasons.

But the Colts go as quarterback Peyton Manning goes — and right now, Manning is the biggest question mark in the NFL. Even if the all-world passer is actually healthy enough to play close to a full slate, their window of dominance might be closed.

2 Rinse. Wash. Repeat. (It’s not so easy.)

On paper, it should be easy for Aaron Rodgers and Co., to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

They have a relatively manageable schedule, return virtually everyone from last season and should get a boost from freak tight end Jermichael Finley.

The hard part will be handling the pressure.

No team has hoisted back-to-back Lombardi Trophies since New England in 2004-05, and only seven (Steelers twice) franchises have ever done it.

3 Lights, Cam, action in Carolina.

The Carolina Panthers took a huge gamble by taking Auburn’s Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick and then handing him the starting quarterback job.

Expect the rookie QB to be analyzed on a weekly basis. How well he leads a Panthers team that finished 2-14 in 2010 with the NFL’s worst offense will ultimately be how he’s judged.

“We didn’t draft Cam to be the savior. We drafted him to help lead this football team,” coach Ron Rivera said.


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