Coach: Leslie Frazier (16-22, fourth season).
Key additions: LB Desmond Bishop (Packers), QB Matt Cassel (Chiefs), DE Lawrence Jackson (Lions), WR Greg Jennings (Packers), OL Seth Olsen (Colts).
Key losses: WR Devin Aromashodu (Bears), LB Jasper Brinkley (Cardinals), WR Percy Harvin (Seahawks), WR Michael Jenkins (free agent), P Chris Kluwe (Raiders), OL Geoff Schwartz (Chiefs), CB Antoine Winfield (Seahawks).
Outlook: Adrian Peterson is coming off an MVP campaign in which he gained the second-highest rushing total in NFL history with 2,097 yards. But such a season will only attract attention, and it will be up to third-year pro Christian Ponder to mature in 2013 and show he can move the ball as well as his contemporaries in this pass-happy league. If he can’t, new backup Matt Cassel is a more proven option. In a bid to improve at receiver, the troublesome Harvin was traded to Seattle and replaced by veteran Greg Jennings.
Coach: Mike Smith (56-24, sixth season).
Key additions: RB Steven Jackson (Rams), DE Osi Umenyiora (Giants), CB Desmond Trufant (draft), CB Robert Alford (draft), DE Malliciah Goodman (draft).
Key losses: DE John Abraham (Cardinals), RB Michael Turner (free agent), CB Brent Grimes (Dolphins), S Chris Hope (Lions), CB Dunta Robinson (Chiefs), QB Luke McCown (Saints), C Todd McClure (retired).
Outlook: The next step for quarterback Matt Ryan is the Super Bowl, after the Falcons nearly got there until falling short by blowing a lead against the 49ers in the NFC title game. He has led the team to 36 wins over the past three seasons, resulting in a five-year, $103.75 million contract extension, and continues to have arguably the best receiving tandem in Roddy White and Julio Jones. Also, tight end fixture Tony Gonzalez will be motivated in what is expected to be his final season. On defense, Umenyiora was added to strengthen a weak pass rush, and the secondary was overhauled.
Coach: Ron Rivera (13-19, third season).
Key additions: LB Chase Blackburn (Giants), CB Drayton Florence (Lions), S Mike Mitchell (Raiders), WR/KR Ted Ginn (49ers), WR Domenik Hixon (Giants).
Key losses: LB James Anderson (Bears), CB Chris Gamble (retired), WR Louis Murphy (Giants), TE Gary Barnidge (Browns), DE Antwan Applewhite (Dolphins).
Outlook: The Panthers will go only as far as Cam Newton can carry them, and he will do so with his arm, legs and, hopefully, a new attitude. The outspoken and physically explosive quarterback — who threw for 3,869 yards with 19 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions, and ran for a team-high 741 yards — warned that his team should not be overlooked after it finished last season with four consecutive wins to go 7-9 after a 1-6 start. But running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart struggled last season, and the team is in the same division as the high-powered Falcons and Saints and the improved Bucs.
Coach: Sean Payton (62-34, seventh season).
Key additions: S Jim Leonhard (Broncos), LB Victor Butler (Cowboys), CB Chris Carr (Chargers), CB Keenan Lewis (Steelers), S Kenny Vaccaro (draft), WR Kenny Stills (draft), TE Benjamin Watson (Browns), QB Luke McCown (Falcons).
Key losses: QB Chase Daniel (Chiefs), QB Seneca Wallace (49ers), WR Steve Breaston (free agent), WR Patrick Crayton (free agent), RB Chris Ivory (Jets), WR Devery Henderson (free agent), DT Sedrick Ellis (Bears).