By Gary Dzen/Boston.com Staff
It's almost football season, something you rarely have to tell Patriots fans. New England is almost always in contention, but while things here have generally stayed the same, there are changes brewing around the league. For example, the Bills, not the Jets, may be Bill Belichick's biggest competition. Offense is up and hard hits are down. Peyton Manning may or may not be the answer in Denver. Check out these and other story lines as we near the opening of the 2012 NFL season.