Football / Sports

NFL preview: AFC power rankings, team capsules

1. Denver Broncos

--Last season's record: 13-3

--The additions of CB Aqib Talib, DE DeMarcus Ware and S T.J. Ward more than offset the losses of WR Eric Decker, CB Champ Bailey and RB Knowshon Moreno. More impressive, the Broncos got better all the way around, especially on defense, and return from injury OT Ryan Clady and LB Von Miller.


Sept. 7 Indianapolis

Sept. 14 Kansas City

Sept. 21 at Seattle

Sept. 28 Bye

Oct. 5 Arizona

Oct. 12 at N.Y. Jets

Oct. 19 S.F.

Oct. 23 San Diego

Nov. 2 at New England

Nov. 9 at Oakland

Nov. 16 at St. Louis

Nov. 23 Miami

Nov. 30 at Kansas City

Dec. 7 Buffalo

Dec. 14 at San Diego

Dec. 22 at Cincinnati

Dec. 28 Oakland

2. New England Patriots

--Last season's record: 12-4

--Coach Bill Belichick bolstered an already loaded roster with CBs Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, as well as WR Brandon LaFell, in an attempt to close the gap with the Broncos and the NFC's top teams. Any team with Belichick as its coach and Tom Brady as its quarterback must be considered a serious Super Bowl contender.


Sept. 7 at Miami

Sept. 14 at Minnesota

Sept. 21 Oakland

Sept. 29 at Kansas City

Oct. 5 Cincinnati

Oct. 12 at Buffalo

Oct. 16 N.Y. Jets

Oct. 26 Chicago

Nov. 2 Denver

Nov. 9 Bye

Nov. 16 at Indianapolis

Nov. 23 Detroit

Nov. 30 at Green Bay

Dec. 7 at San Diego

Dec. 14 Miami

Dec. 21 at N.Y. Jets

Dec. 28 Buffalo

3. Kansas City Chiefs

--Last season's record: 11-5

--The Chiefs lost starting offensive linemen Branden Albert and Jon Asamoah to free agency and weren't quite as active in adding players as they were last year in coach Andy Reid's first season. That's how confident Reid is in the Pro Bowl-laden roster he inherited and turned into a playoff team last season, his first with the Chiefs.


Sept. 7 Tennessee

Sept. 14 at Denver

Sept. 21 at Miami

Sept. 29 New England

Oct. 5 at S.F.

Oct. 12 Bye

Oct. 19 at San Diego

Oct. 26 St. Louis

Nov. 2 N.Y. Jets

Nov. 9 at Buffalo

Nov. 16 Seattle

Nov. 20 at Oakland

Nov. 30 Denver

Dec. 7 at Arizona

Dec. 14 Oakland

Dec. 21 at Pittsburgh

Dec. 28 San Diego

4. Indianapolis Colts

--Last season's record: 11-5

--The Colts shifted their focus to bolstering their defense and added LB D'Qwell Jackson and DT Arthur Jones. The offense remains in good hands with Andrew Luck at QB and a healthy Reggie Wayne at WR. RB Trent Richardson remains a huge question mark after two seasons of uninspired play.


Sept. 7 at Denver

Sept. 15 Philadelphia

Sept. 21 at Jacksonville

Sept. 28 Tennessee

Oct. 5 Baltimore

Oct. 9 at Houston

Oct. 19 Cincinnati

Oct. 26 at Pittsburgh

Nov. 3 at N.Y. Giants

Nov. 9 Bye

Nov. 16 New England

Nov. 23 Jacksonville

Nov. 30 Washington

Dec. 7 at Cleveland

Dec. 14 Houston

Dec. 21 at Dallas

Dec. 28 at Tennessee

5. San Diego Chargers

--Last season's record: 9-7

--The Chargers made some noise last season, including a road victory over the Bengals in the playoffs. They were very quiet in the offseason, though, with the addition of CB Jason Verrett a notable exception. That's not the way to close the considerable gap between them and the Broncos.


Sept. 8 at Arizona

Sept. 14 Seattle

Sept. 21 at Buffalo

Sept. 28 Jacksonville

Oct. 5 N.Y. Jets

Oct. 12 at Oakland

Oct. 19 Kansas City

Oct. 23 at Denver

Nov. 2 at Miami

Nov. 9 Bye

Nov. 16 Oakland

Nov. 23 St. Louis

Nov. 30 at Baltimore

Dec. 7 New England

Dec. 14 Denver

Dec. 20 at S.F.

Dec. 28 at Kansas City

6. Cincinnati Bengals

--Last season's record: 11-5

--Coach Marvin Lewis and first-year offensive coordinator Hue Jackson are convinced that Andy Dalton is the long-term solution at QB, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. The first step for Dalton validating their faith in him is delivering a playoff victory.


Sept. 7 at Baltimore

Sept. 14 Atlanta

Sept. 21 Tennessee

Sept. 28 Bye

Oct. 5 at New England

Oct. 12 Carolina

Oct. 19 at Indianapolis

Oct. 26 Baltimore

Nov. 2 Jacksonville

Nov. 6 Cleveland

Nov. 16 at New Orleans

Nov. 23 at Houston

Nov. 30 at Tampa Bay

Dec. 7 Pittsburgh

Dec. 14 at Cleveland

Dec. 22 Denver

Dec. 28 at Pittsburgh

7. Baltimore Ravens

--Last season's record: 8-8

--The Ravens claim that they are over the Super Bowl hangover that dogged them all last season. A rejuvenated Ray Rice -- he averaged only 3.1 yards rushing last season -- and the addition of WR Steve Smith from the Panthers and LB C.J. Mosley and DT Timmy Jernigan via the draft gives one reason to think there's something behind all the talk.


Sept. 7 Cincinnati

Sept. 11 Pittsburgh

Sept. 21 at Cleveland

Sept. 28 Carolina

Oct. 5 at Indianapolis

Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay

Oct. 19 Atlanta

Oct. 26 at Cincinnati

Nov. 2 at Pittsburgh

Nov. 9 Tennessee

Nov. 16 Bye

Nov. 24 at New Orleans

Nov. 30 San Diego

Dec. 7 at Miami

Dec. 14 Jacksonville

Dec. 21 at Houston

Dec. 28 Cleveland

8. Houston Texans

--Last season's record: 2-14

--The Texans aren't your ordinary team coming off a miserable 2013. This is a team that just lost its way last season, due to horrendous play by QB Matt Schaub and injuries to RB Arian Foster and WR DeAndre Hopkins. The return of Foster and Hopkins and the addition of DE Jadeveon Clowney and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick figure to make first-year coach Bill O'Brien look like a great hire.


Sept. 7 Washington

Sept. 14 at Oakland

Sept. 21 at N.Y. Giants

Sept. 28 Buffalo

Oct. 5 at Dallas

Oct. 9 Indianapolis

Oct. 20 at Pittsburgh

Oct. 26 at Tennessee

Nov. 2 Philadelphia

Nov. 9 Bye

Nov. 16 at Cleveland

Nov. 23 Cincinnati

Nov. 30 Tennessee

Dec. 7 at Jacksonville

Dec. 14 at Indianapolis

Dec. 21 Baltimore

Dec. 28 Jacksonville

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

--Last season's record: 8-8

--The purge of aging, declining players such as S Ryan Clark and LB LaMarr Woodley continued this offseason. Younger players such as RB LeGarrette Blount, S Mike Mitchell and WR Lance Moore arrived via free agency, along with a cache of draft prospects. You can't keep the Steelers down for long.


Sept. 7 Cleveland

Sept. 11 at Baltimore

Sept. 21 at Carolina

Sept. 28 Tampa Bay

Oct. 5 at Jacksonville

Oct. 12 at Cleveland

Oct. 20 Houston

Oct. 26 Indianapolis

Nov. 2 Baltimore

Nov. 9 at N.Y. Jets

Nov. 17 at Tennessee

Nov. 23 Bye

Nov. 30 New Orleans

Dec. 7 at Cincinnati

Dec. 14 at Atlanta

Dec. 21 Kansas City

Dec. 28 Cincinnati

10. Miami Dolphins

--Last season's record: 8-8

--The more the Dolphins change, the more they seem to remain the same: a team stuck in the mud and going nowhere. It isn't for lack of trying, though. This year, they brought in OT Branden Albert and RB Knowshon Moreno. There still are too many holes to fill to expect much from this team.


Sept. 7 New England

Sept. 14 at Buffalo

Sept. 21 Kansas City

Sept. 28 at Oakland

Oct. 5 Bye

Oct. 12 Green Bay

Oct. 19 at Chicago

Oct. 26 at Jacksonville

Nov. 2 San Diego

Nov. 9 at Detroit

Nov. 13 Buffalo

Nov. 23 at Denver

Dec. 1 at N.Y. Jets

Dec. 7 Baltimore

Dec. 14 at New England

Dec. 21 Minnesota

Dec. 28 N.Y. Jets

11. Buffalo Bills

--Last season's record: 6-10

--The Bills paid a king's ransom to move up in the draft to get WR Sammy Watkins. General manager Doug Whaley is like Bills fans in that he wants a winning team now. Losing star LB Kiko Alonso to an offseason knee injury is the first sign that Whaley and fans probably will endure another long winter waiting for something that isn't going to come.


Sept. 7 at Chicago

Sept. 14 Miami

Sept. 21 San Diego

Sept. 28 at Houston

Oct. 5 at Detroit

Oct. 12 New England

Oct. 19 Minnesota

Oct. 26 at N.Y. Jets

Nov. 2 Bye

Nov. 9 Kansas City

Nov. 13 at Miami

Nov. 23 N.Y. Jets

Nov. 30 Cleveland

Dec. 7 at Denver

Dec. 14 Green Bay

Dec. 21 at Oakland

Dec. 28 at New England

12. Cleveland Browns

--Last season's record: 4-12

--For the first time in a long time, people outside of Ohio care about the Browns. Such is the magnetism of rookie QB Johnny Manziel. Brian Hoyer is the projected starter, per first-year coach Mike Pettine, but get your popcorn ready, because it won't be long before Manziel is back where he wants to be: in the spotlight, with the ball in his hands and running the show.


Sept. 7 at Pittsburgh

Sept. 14 New Orleans

Sept. 21 Baltimore

Sept. 28 Bye

Oct. 5 at Tennessee

Oct. 12 Pittsburgh

Oct. 19 at Jacksonville

Oct. 26 Oakland

Nov. 2 Tampa Bay

Nov. 6 at Cincinnati

Nov. 16 Houston

Nov. 23 at Atlanta

Nov. 30 at Buffalo

Dec. 7 Indianapolis

Dec. 14 Cincinnati

Dec. 21 at Carolina

Dec. 28 at Baltimore

13. Tennessee Titans

--Last season's record: 7-9

--The Titans hope that first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt can get them over the hump and back to relevance after several seasons of mediocrity under Mike Munchak. Whisenhunt thinks he can get the Titans there without recent mainstays Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt. He isn't the first one to arrive in Nashville with dreams of making it big.


Sept. 7 at Kansas City

Sept. 14 Dallas

Sept. 21 at Cincinnati

Sept. 28 at Indianapolis

Oct. 5 Cleveland

Oct. 12 Jacksonville

Oct. 19 at Washington

Oct. 26 Houston

Nov. 2 Bye

Nov. 9 at Baltimore

Nov. 17 Pittsburgh

Nov. 23 at Philadelphia

Nov. 30 at Houston

Dec. 7 N.Y. Giants

Dec. 14 N.Y. Jets

Dec. 18 at Jacksonville

Dec. 28 Indianapolis

14. N.Y. Jets

--Last season's record: 8-8

--The Jersey Shore Jets remain more of a reality show than an NFL franchise, only this season QB Mike Vick has taken over for the displaced Mark Sanchez as a cast member. How long before Vick takes over for projected starter Geno Smith? Coach Rex Ryan still is talking big things for a team that hasn't won more than eight games since 2010. Hey, at least they won't be boring.


Sept. 7 Oakland

Sept. 14 at Green Bay

Sept. 22 Chicago

Sept. 28 Detroit

Oct. 5 at San Diego

Oct. 12 Denver

Oct. 16 at New England

Oct. 26 Buffalo

Nov. 2 at Kansas City

Nov. 9 Pittsburgh

Nov. 16 Bye

Nov. 23 at Buffalo

Dec. 1 Miami

Dec. 14 at Tennessee

Dec. 21 New England

Dec. 28 at Miami

15. Oakland Raiders

--Last season's record: 4-12

--It's a make-or-break, win-or-move-on season for coach Dennis Allen after back-to-back 4-12 seasons. He's going to need rookie QB Derek Carr to show maturity quickly, and veteran players such as James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley to play as well as they did in their primes for the Raiders to make a big enough leap to satisfy antsy owner Mark Davis.


Sept. 7 at N.Y. Jets

Sept. 14 Houston

Sept. 21 at New England

Sept. 28 Miami

Oct. 5 Bye

Oct. 12 San Diego

Oct. 19 Arizona

Oct. 26 at Cleveland

Nov. 2 at Seattle

Nov. 9 Denver

Nov. 16 at San Diego

Nov. 20 Kansas City

Nov. 30 at St. Louis

Dec. 7 S.F.

Dec. 14 at Kansas City

Dec. 21 Buffalo

Dec. 28 at Denver

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

--Last season's record: 4-12

--The Jaguars are committed to quarterback Chad Henne ... for now. The fans are committed to wanting rookie Blake Bortles to take over for Henne. If nothing else, second-year coach Gus Bradley has the Jaguars headed in the right direction.


Sept. 7 at Philadelphia

Sept. 14 at Washington

Sept. 21 Indianapolis

Sept. 28 at San Diego

Oct. 5 Pittsburgh

Oct. 12 at Tennessee

Oct. 19 Cleveland

Oct. 25 Miami

Nov. 2 at Cincinnati

Nov. 9 Dallas

Nov. 16 Bye

Nov. 23 at Indianapolis

Nov. 30 N.Y. Giants

Dec. 7 Houston

Dec. 14 at Baltimore

Dec. 18 Tennessee

Dec. 28 at Houston

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