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5 things to watch for in NFL opener: Broncos vs. Ravens

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4 2013 10:37 p.m. MDT

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For the first time in the Ravens' 18-year existence, Ray Lewis isn't manning middle linebacker. Daryl Smith, who signed a free agent deal in June, is the veteran replacement. He's a sure tackler entering his 10th season and could help provide some of the veteran presence the Ravens lost.

Smith was part of a Ravens defensive revamp as they also said goodbye to starters Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams, and hello to Dumervil, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Michael Huff.

Flacco parlayed his fantastic playoff run into a six-year, $120.6 million contract, but also lost his two favorite targets as receiver Anquan Boldin was traded and tight end Dennis Pitta is sidelined with a fractured hip.
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