NFL countdown begins: Three big storylines to follow as the 2024-2025 season approaches

The countdown begins. 

The 2024-2025 NFL season kicks off in less than 100 days when the defending Super Bowl champions host the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 5th in primetime. The season-opener will be a rematch of the AFC Championship game when the Kansas City Chiefs punched their ticket to Super Bowl LVIII with a win over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. 

But rivalries and remediations aren’t the only narratives NFL fans should look out for when the season kicks off. Read below for three more must-watch storylines. 

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The Kansas City Chiefs have not shied away from the obvious. After becoming the first team in two decades to win back-to-back championships with their comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers in February, the Chiefs solidified their status as a dynasty team. 

“It’s a little bit surreal,” head coach Andy Reid said after the win. “I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, so you can figure it out. It’s a great win because I know how hard it is to do and how hard the season was, the ups and downs of the season, and how proud I am of the guys for just hanging with each other and staying positive with each other.”

But the Chiefs wasted no time in thinking about lucky No. 3. 

“The goal has always been to get three,” Travis Kelce shouted after the game. “How about that? We get a chance to do it three times in a row.”

No team has ever won three in a row since the Super Bowl era began. And of the eight teams who have defended their title, none had made it to the Super Bowl the following season for a chance at a three-peat. 

But the Chiefs do have a chance. They also have experience on their side. Kansas City selected wide receiver Xavier Worthy in the first round, the new record holder for the fastest 40-yard dash. Their only big loss was cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who they traded this offseason for picks.

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Last year’s offseason was dominated by one storyline – Will Aaron Rodgers be able to end the New York Jets playoff drought and bring them to the promised land? That question was answered quickly, unfortunately, when the four-time league MVP ruptured his achilles just four plays into his debut with the Jets. 

New York’s pursuit of the former Green Bay Packers quarterback followed a glowing season for the Jets’ young defense. They became legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and Rodgers’ arrival even gave hope that first round draft pick Zach Wilson would have an opportunity to develop into a signal caller that would eventually take back the reins. 

But the unthinkable would happen, the Jets were back at square one. But, the thought this season is still the same – the Jets are still considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders and they’ve been busy in the offseason. 

General manager Joe Douglas focused on improving the offensive line during free agency, signing left tackle Tyron Smith and left guard John Simpson and also acquiring right tackle Morgan Moses from Baltimore. New York also drafted Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu with the No. 11 overall pick in the draft last month.

The Jets also added some playmakers for Rodgers, including signing former Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams. They drafted former Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley in the third round and later took running backs Braelon Allen (fourth round) and Isaiah Davis (fifth) to join Breece Hall and Israel Abanikanda in the backfield.

It’s a storyline that NFL fans see every year. Will the No. 1 overall pick in the draft live up to the expectations and turn things around for the long-suffering franchise? For Caleb Williams, that seems entirely possible. 

Head coach Matt Eberflus raved about Williams earlier this month when he announced that, without a doubt, the former USC star would enter his rookie season as the Bears’ QB1. 

“You can really tell he’s comfortable in his own skin and he is who he is,” Eberflus said. “His personality starts. His light comes out from the inside. You can certainly feel that energy. He’s a one-plus-one-equals-three guy. He’s an enhancer. He’s a guy that brings out the best in people. You can certainly feel that in him within five minutes of meeting him.”

The debate around developing rookie quarterbacks or throwing them into the fire has picked up over the years. But the situation in Chicago stands out because the Bears have seemingly given Williams every chance to succeed. 

Williams will have weapons in veterans D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen, as well as with Rome Odunze, the Bears’ ninth overall pick in this year’s draft. The Bears also added running back D’Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett in the offseason. 

“Right now I’m following all the vets, I’m following all the coaches. I’m listening, having both ears open and my mouth shut,” Williams said. “Just kind of sitting back listening and when I get to the point of when I learn everything, when I learn the ways of how we do it with the culture, the playbook, and what the offensive line, the receivers are all doing, running backs and tight ends and things like that — then you can start taking the lead. Then you can start taking the helms of all of it and take the next steps.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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