Coach: Sean McDermott (1st season).
Last season: 7-9 (third in AFC East)
Key additions: CB E.J. Gaines, WR Jordan Matthews, CB Tre’Davious White, WR Corey Brown.
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Key subtractions: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Ronald Darby, CB Stephon Gilmore, RB Mike Gillislee, S Corey Graham, WR Anquan Boldin.
Looking ahead: The never-ending rebuild in Buffalo continues as coach Rex Ryan was fired at the end of last season before GM Doug Whaley and his staff were canned in the spring. New coach McDermott and GM Brandon Beane worked to overhaul a roster which still features Tyrod Taylor at quarterback after last season’s messes. During the preseason, Watkins was sent to the Rams with Gaines coming back.
Coach: Adam Gase (2nd season).
Last season: 10-7 (2nd in AFC East, lost to Pittsburgh 30-12 in wild-card game).
Key additions: QB Jay Cutler, LB Lawrence Timmons, DE William Hayes, S Nate Allen, TE Julius Thomas, TE Anthony Fasano.
Key subtractions: QB Ryan Tannehill, CB Tony Lippett, OT Branden Albert, TE Dion Sims, DE Dion Jordan.
Looking ahead: Miami had a rough training camp with Tannehill and Lippett lost for the season due to injury. Cutler was signed earlier this month and the Dolphins hope his Gase-reunion leads to a lot of touchdowns — and a run to the playoffs. Center Mike Pouncey returns from a hip injury and should help Miami’s offensive line help pave the way for Jay Ajayi as he continues to tear things up.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Coach: Bill Bellichick (17th season).
Last season: 17-2 (1st in AFC East, defeated Atlanta 34-28 in Super Bowl).
Key additions: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Stephon Gilmore, RB Mike Gillislee.
Key subtractions: TE Martellus Bennett, RB LeGarrette Blount.
Looking ahead: Who is going to stop the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady? The Falcons couldn’t do it in last year’s Super Bowl and Father Time doesn’t seem to be doing too good a job, either. Some are wondering if the Patroits can run the table and go 19-0 but others wonder if they even care about a perfect season. Regardless, the Pats are the class of the AFC East until someone (the Dolphins?) proves otherwise.
NEW YORK JETS
Coach: Todd Bowles (3rd season).
Last season: 5-11 (4th in AFC East).
Key additions: CB Morris Claiborne, QB Josh McCown, TE Jordan Leggett.
Key subtractions: C Nick Mangold, WR Brandon Marshall, CB Darrelle Revis QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Eric Decker, K Nick Folk.
Looking ahead: Bowles opens the season on the hot seat despite a hot mess of a roster. The Jets came into camp with a three-way battle for the starting QB position with veteran McCown figuring to be the favorite — at least to start things off. The Jets could do some damage on the defensive side of the ball with a tough d-line featuring Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson.
Coach: John Harbaugh (10th season).
Last season: 8-8 (2nd in AFC North).
Key additions: CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Brandon Carr, S Tony Jefferson, RB Danny Woodhead, WR Jeremy Maclin.
Key losses: LB Zach Orr, FB Kyle Juszczyk.
Looking ahead: The Ravens are desperate to get back to the playoffs after missing out the past two years yet again have been slowed by injuries. This is Joe Flacco’s team when he is healthy but the Ravens hope they have a good Plan B with Ryan Mallett getting a lot of preseason work. Baltimore is known for its defense and should be strong there once again.
Coach: Marvin Lewis (15th season).
Last season: 6-9-1 (3rd in AFC North).
Key additions: RB Joe Mixon, LB Kevin Minter, WR John Ross, LB Carl Lawson.
Key losses: OT Andrew Whitworth.
Looking ahead: The Bengals missed the playoffs last year after making it in six of the previous seven seasons. Cincinnati didn’t win a single postseason game during that span and brings some questions whether Lewis returns as this is his final year under contract. The Bengals are getting younger and perhaps more exciting and should battle Pittsburgh and Baltimore for a playoff spot this year.
Coach: Hue Jackson (2nd season).
Last season: 1-15 (4th in AFC North).
Key additions: TR David Njoku, WR Kenny Britt, QB Brock Osweiler, DE Myles Garrett, DB Jabrill Peppers, DB Calvin Pryor, QB DeShone Kizer.
Key losses: WR Terrelle Pryor, QB Josh McCown, QB Robert Griffin III, TE Gary Barnidge.
Looking ahead: The biggest question in Cleveland is who (once again) will be the starting quarterback. Osweiler came to the Browns in a salary dump after a disappointing season in Houston yet started the first two preseason games. Kizer, a second round pick from Notre Dame, and Cody Kessler remain in the mix. Will it matter? Cleveland should be improved this season — but that bar is set extremely low.
Coach: Mike Tomlin (11th season).
Last season: 13-6 (1st in AFC North, lost to Patriots in AFC title game 36-17).
Key additions: DL Tyson Alualu, RB James Conner.
Key losses: TE Ladarius Green, LS Greg Warren.
Looking ahead: Led by a strong defense and a pretty electric offense, the Steelers are not only fun to watch but they’re as good as anyone in football — but can they get past the Patriots? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hinted at retirement last season but he’s back again this season with plenty of weapons. Don’t sleep on Pittsburgh making a run at the Super Bowl this year.
Coach: Bill O’Brien (4th season).
Last season: 10-8 (1st in AFC South, lost to New England 34-16 in AFC divisional game).
Key additions: QB Deshaun Watson, LB Zach Cunningham.
Key subtractions: CB A.J. Bouye, QB Brock Osweiler, DT Vince Wilfork.
Looking ahead: The AFC South appears to be improving and if the Texans aren’t careful, they may get caught up in it all. After going 9-7 in each of the first three seasons since O’Brien arrived from Penn State, the Texans dropped Oakland (minus Derek Carr) in the first round before running into the Patriots. Osweiler was sent to Cleveland leaving a quarterback battle in the shape of the Clemson rookie Watson and Tom Savage.
Coach: Chuck Pagano (6th season).
Last season: 8-8 (3rd in AFC South).
Key additions: LB Jabaal Sheard, LB John Simon, S Malik Hooker, DT Johnathan Hankins.
Key subtractions: TE Dwayne Allen, LB Robert Mathis, LB D’Qwell Jackson, S Mike Adams.
Looking ahead: The Colts appear to be a team in transition with new general manager Chris Ballard trying to fix the defense. The big question comes on the offensive side with franchise signal-caller Andrew Luck missing out on the preseason with former Miami QB Stephen Morris making a run at the backup gig. When Luck is in, the Colts will score. With an improved D, Indianapolis should be better at giving him some help.
Coach: Doug Marrone (1st season).
Last season: 3-13 (4th in AFC South).
Key additions: DE Calais Campbell, CB A.J. Bouye, S Barry Church, RB Leonard Fournette.
Key subtractions: TE Julius Thomas.
Looking ahead: Last season was yet another disappointing one for the folks in northeast Florida with the Jaguars going from a hip pick to win the division to a dumpster fire. The Jags are a league-worst 17-63 over the past five seasons and that’s with the Cleveland Browns being in the league. This preseason saw the continuing unraveling of QB Blake Bortles. Jacksonville hopes the return of Tom Coughlin breathes some magic back into the franchise.
Coach: Mike Mularkey (3rd season).
Last season: 9-7 (2nd in AFC South).
Key additions: S Johnathan Cyprien, WR Eric Decker, WR Corey Davis.
Key subtractions: CB Jason McCourty, OL Chance Warmack, WR Kendall Wright.
Looking ahead: After going from a three-win team living in the AFC basement, the Titans made a huge improvement last year by winning nine games and just missing the playoffs. Folks in Music City are looking forward to a postseason run this year thanks to strong play from Marcus Mariota and back DeMarco Murray. The Titans added pieces on offense, fixed some holes on the defensive side and should make noise in the division.
Coach: Vance Joseph (1st season).
Last season: 9-7 (3rd in AFC West).
Key additions: DL Zach Kerr, DE DeMarcus Walker.
Key subtractions: DL Sylvester Williams, OT Russell Okung, DB Kayvon Webster.
Looking ahead: The Broncos went from Super Bowl champs to missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and went into the preseason with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch fighting it out to see who starts behind center — the job was won by Siemian. Joseph, the former Miami defensive coordinator, is in after Gary Kubiak was forced to leave because of health problems. Denver has a great defense but that wasn’t enough to do the trick last year and probably won’t again this season.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Coach: Andy Reid (5th season).
Last season: 12-5 (1st in AFC West, lost to Pittsburgh 18-16 in AFC divisional game).
Key additions: RB C.J. Spiller, QB Patrick Mahomes, DT Bennie Logan, OL Andrew Tiller.
Key subtractions: QB Nick Foles, DT Dontari Poe, WR Jeremy Maclin, RB Jamaal Charles.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs, despite a few changes, won’t look much different this season and after winning the division with 12 victories, they feel good about things. Alex Smith returns to run the offense but if things aren’t going well, perhaps rookie Mahomes could see some time. KC lost Poe to the Falcons but should be pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. It’ll be the Chiefs and Raiders battling it out for the division — just as it should be.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Coach: Anthony Lynn (1st season).
Last season: 5-11 (4th in AFC West).
Key additions: S Tre Boston, OT Russell Okung, WR Mike Williams, OL Forrest Lamp, S Rayshawn Jenkins.
Key subtractions: CB Brandon Flowers, WR Stevie Johnson, OL Orlando Franklin, RB Danny Woodhead.
Looking ahead: The Chargers had a disappointing farewell season in San Diego and should be better this year in their transition to their new home in southern California in temporary housing. Quarterback Philip Rivers should give the 30,000-or so fans packed into their soccer stadium plenty of thrills as San Diego, err, the L.A. Chargers, have plenty of offensive weapons. This is still a team which won 11 games over the past two seasons and needs work on the defensive side of the ball.
Coach: Jack Del Rio (3rd season).
Last season: 12-5 (2nd in AFC West, lost to Houston 27-14 in AFC wild card game).
Key additions: RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DT Treyvon Hester.
Key subtractions: RB Latavius Murray, LB Malcolm Smith, LB Perry Riley.
Looking ahead: Derek Carr’s broken leg at the end of last season may have cost the Raiders a chance at a special season as they were unceremoniously dumped from the playoffs by the Texans. The Raiders then made it official and announced they would eventually leave Oakland for the bright lights of Vegas, yet they should make their final seasons in the Bay Area something special. This is a very good team, one that made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. As long as Carr stays healthy, the Raiders could be in the mix against Pittsburgh and New England for conference supremacy.