A glance at each team in the AFC:
Last year: Despite posting first winning record in a decade, Bills missed playoffs for 15th consecutive season — NFL's longest active drought. Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula infused stability by vowing to keep Bills in western New York after purchasing team for NFL-record $1.4 billion. Coach Doug Marrone stepped down abruptly Dec. 31, leading Pegulas to hire former Jets coach Rex Ryan.
Important additions: Ryan; offensive coordinator Greg Roman; RB LeSean McCoy; WR Percy Harvin; QBs Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor; TE Charles Clay; OG Richie Incognito; FB Jerome Felton.
Important losses: LBs Kiko Alonso and Brandon Spikes; RB C.J. Spiller; QB Kyle Orton; S Da'Norris Searcy; TE Scott Chandler.
Expectations: They're sky-high. Ryan's brash approach, combined with McCoy's acquisition to lead running attack and talent-laden, attacking defense that returns mostly intact puts Buffalo in position to improve. Playoff contender? It'll be clearer after opening month that features games against Colts, Patriots, Dolphins and Giants.
Last year: Finished at or near .500 for third consecutive year under coach Joe Philbin. Most encouraging development was improvement of third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who set franchise record for completions and became Miami's first 4,000-yard passer since Dan Marino.
Important additions: DTs Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Phillips and C.J. Mosley; WRs DeVante Parker, Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills; TE Jordan Cameron; G-T Jeff Linkenbach; G Jamil Douglas; CB Brice McCain; LB Spencer Paysinger.
Important losses: WRs Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline; TE Charles Clay; DL Jared Odrick; DT Randy Starks; DE Dion Jordan; LBs Dannell Ellerbe, Jason Trusnik and Philip Wheeler; RBs Knowshon Moreno and Daniel Thomas; Gs Shelley Smith and Daryn Colledge; C Samson Satele; CB Cortland Finnegan; S Jimmy Wilson.
Expectations: This is Dolphins' 50th season, and optimism is highest in four years under Philbin, whose job is on the line. Even if Dolphins start strong, they'll need to shake habit of late-season collapses to reach playoffs for first time since 2008.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Last year: Easily won AFC East for 11th time in 12 seasons, then reached Super Bowl for sixth time in Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. Beat Seattle 28-24 when Malcolm Butler intercepted pass at goal line with 20 seconds left. Offseason was dominated by "Deflategate" controversy.
Important additions: CB Chimdi Chekwa; DE Jabaal Sheard; QB Matt Flynn; WR Brandon Gibson; TE Scott Chandler.
Important losses: CBs Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner; DT Vince Wilfork; RBs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley; OL Dan Connolly.
Expectations: Even with Brady's suspension looming, Patriots should be able to claim another division title. Problem arises if his absence costs them a first-round bye; none of team's four Super Bowl titles has come after it played in wild-card round. But look for team to use cheating allegations as motivation; last time Patriots were punished for breaking rules, in 2007 after being caught videotaping opponents' signals, they went 16-0 in regular season, ultimately losing Super Bowl to Giants.
NEW YORK JETS
Last year: Coach Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik both fired after team missed playoffs for fourth straight year, the longest postseason drought under owner Woody Johnson. Season marked by inconsistent play from QB Geno Smith and struggles in the secondary.
Important additions: Coach Todd Bowles; GM Mike Maccagnan; offensive coordinator Chan Gailey; CBs Darrelle Revis, CB Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine; WRs Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith; S Marcus Gilchrist; QB Ryan Fitzpatrick; G James Carpenter; DL Leonard Williams; RB Zac Stacy.
Important losses: Ryan; offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg; defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman; WR Percy Harvin; RB Chris Johnson; QB Michael Vick; CB Kyle Wilson; NT Kenrick Ellis.
Expectations: Returns of Revis and Cromartie, and additions of Skrine and Gilchrist instantly improve defense that's expected to be one of league's best. There were questions at QB even before Smith suffered a broken jaw after being punched by then-teammate IK Enemkpali at training camp.
Last year: Despite distraction created by arrest and subsequent suspension of Ray Rice for domestic violence, Ravens reached playoffs for sixth time in seven years under coach John Harbaugh. Justin Forsett stepped in and had career year with 1,266 yards rushing, and Joe Flacco set personal high with 3,986 yards passing. After winning at Pittsburgh in postseason opener, Baltimore traveled to New England and lost 35-31.
Important additions: FS Kendrick Lewis; WR Breshad Perriman; offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.
Important losses: DT Haloti Ngata; WRs Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones; LB Pernell McPhee; TE Owen Daniels; C Gino Gradkowski; RB Bernard Pierce.
Expectations: Ravens intend to make playoffs again, and this time they'd like to do so as AFC North champs. For this to happen, they must adjust quickly to Trestman's offensive scheme and get most out of Flacco and offensive line that is unchanged from a year ago. Ravens also expect rookies, most notably Perriman, TE Maxx Williams and DT Carl Davis, to contribute immediately.
Last year: Reached playoffs for club-record fourth year in row and became first NFL team to lose four straight opening-round games. The 26-10 loss at Indianapolis left Andy Dalton tied with Warren Moon for most consecutive opening-round losses by a quarterback. Coach Marvin Lewis fell to 0-6 in postseason, matching Jim Mora for futility. Cincinnati still hasn't won a playoff game since 1990 season, one of worst stretches of postseason futility in NFL history.
Important additions: DE Michael Johnson; LB A.J. Hawk.
Important losses: CB Terence Newman; QB Jason Campbell; TEs Jermaine Gresham and Alex Smith; S Taylor Mays.
Expectations: Defense slipped last season, ranking last in sacks, but that should improve with Johnson back and tackle Geno Atkins more than one year beyond reconstructive knee surgery. Bengals' window of opportunity is starting to close, with many stalwarts in final years of their deals. Anything short of playoff victory would be unacceptable to team that spent lots of money keeping roster intact.
Last year: Yet another circus as Browns were in playoff contention before dropping last five games, ending coach Mike Pettine's first season on sour note. There was improvement, but Browns were undermined by sideshows swirling around backup rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel and former Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended for first 10 games and played poorly when he returned.
Important additions: QB Josh McCown; WRs Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline; DB Tramon Williams; P Andy Lee; WR Terrelle Pryor; DL Randy Starks.
Important losses: WRs Gordon and Miles Austin; QB Brian Hoyer; TE Jordan Cameron; LB Jabaal Sheard; CB Buster Skrine; DL Ahtyba Rubin; K Billy Cundiff; S Jim Leonhard.
Expectations: Browns were only AFC North team not to make postseason last year. Led by Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, deep, talented defense has chance to be terrific. McCown will be protected by excellent offensive line, but he could feel pressure if Manziel gets his act together.
Last year: Bounced back from consecutive .500 seasons to win AFC North for first time since 2010 behind NFL's second-ranked offense. QB Ben Roethlisberger tied for league lead in yards passing, while WR Antonio Brown set franchise records in receptions and yards receiving. RB Le'Veon Bell emerged as one of NFL's most-versatile backs before injury in finale against Cincinnati forced him to watch wild-card loss to Baltimore from sideline.
Important additions: RB DeAngelo Williams; LB Bud Dupree; CB Senquez Golson; WR Sammie Coates.
Important losses: S Troy Polamalu; CB Ike Taylor; DE Brett Keisel; LB Jason Worilds.
Expectations: With Roethlisberger locked in for basically remainder of career after signing new contract in March, and Brown and Bell in their primes, Steelers should again be one of most dynamic offenses. That should be enough to keep them in mix in AFC North. Success will hinge on how quickly young defense can get it together under new coordinator Keith Butler.
Last year: In first season under coach Bill O'Brien, improved seven games from terrible 2-14 campaign in 2013 behind spectacular year by DE J.J. Watt, NFL's Defensive Player of Year for second time in his four pro seasons. But last year's No. 1 overall pick, OLB Jadeveon Clowney, played just four games because of injuries. That coupled with injuries to several quarterbacks kept Houston from returning to postseason.
Important additions: NT Vince Wilfork; QB Brian Hoyer; S Rahim Moore; CB Kevin Johnson; WRs Jaelen Strong, Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III.
Important losses: WR Andre Johnson; S D.J. Swearinger; QB Ryan Fitzpatrick; C Chris Myers.
Expectations: Defense will be strength of team with Watt, Wilfork and, hopefully, Clowney, but fate of Texans will rely heavily on how quarterback performs in division featuring Andrew Luck and Indianapolis Colts. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins should fill in ably for Johnson, but Shorts, Washington or third-round pick Strong will need to step up.
Last year: Continued steady progression with Andrew Luck leading way, winning second straight AFC South title and advancing one step deeper in playoffs for third consecutive year. Beat Bengals at home in wild-card round and beat Broncos on road before getting blown out — again — by Patriots in AFC Championship Game.
Important additions: OLB Trent Cole; WRs Andre Johnson and Phillip Dorsett; RB Frank Gore; OL Todd Herremans; DL Kendall Langford; S Dwight Lowery.
Important losses: S LaRon Landry; DE Cory Redding; RB Trent Richardson; WR Reggie Wayne; OT Gosder Cherilus.
Expectations: Indianapolis' steady ascension has spurred talk about a Super Bowl-or-bust season. A favorable schedule, with Patriots and Broncos both at home, and playing in division where no other quarterback has measured up to Luck, should lead to third straight division crown. But success or failure this season will be defined by two things: beating New England in playoffs and reaching their third Super Bowl since 2006.
Last year: Started 0-6 for second consecutive season under coach Gus Bradley, getting outscored 152-58 in first four games, and finished below .500 for sixth time in last seven years. Jaguars planned to keep QB Blake Bortles on bench as rookie, but third overall pick out of Central Florida ended up on field in Week 3 and started final 13 games. Bortles was one of seven rookies to start on offense and, not surprisingly, Jaguars struggled to score all year.
Important additions: TE Julius Thomas; RB T.J. Yeldon; OT Jermey Parnell; C Stefen Wisniewski; CB Davon House; LB Dan Skuta; DE Jared Odrick.
Important losses: WR Cecil Shorts III; DEs Red Bryant and rookie DE Dante Fowler Jr., who injured knee in first practice and will miss season.
Expectations: A little hope. Jaguars are 14-50 since 2010, and although Bradley and General Manager Dave Caldwell admit their three-year overhaul needed more work than initially expected, they also realize it's time to start providing better results.
Last year: Coach Ken Whisenhunt started debut season with big win in Kansas City, year's lone highlight. Titans cycled through three quarterbacks and played seven offensive tackles while finishing with 10 straight losses for worst record since 1994. Only plus was their highest draft pick since 1984 at No. 2 overall.
Important additions: Mastermind Dick LeBeau now is in charge of defense. Heisman Trophy winner QB Marcus Mariota; LB Brian Orakpo; CB Perrish Cox; S Da'Norris Searcy; TE Anthony Fasano; WRs Dorial Green-Beckham and Harry Douglas; RB David Cobb.
Important losses: OTs Michael Roos and Michael Oher; RB Shonn Greene.
Expectations: Drafting Mariota has revived hope for franchise with only one winning season since last playoff berth in 2008. Oregon star is third QB team has drafted in first eight picks since 2006. How quickly Mariota develops will determine just how much better Titans are this season. Team that finished last in AFC South should be better in Whisenhunt's second season, has much room for improvement across board.
Last year: Broncos began last season as prohibitive Super Bowl favorite after loading up on defense with Pro Bowlers. Peyton Manning had terrific first half before thigh injury derailed his season. John Fox headed off to Chicago after Denver's third straight postseason implosion, this time at home to Indianapolis. John Elway brought in old pal Gary Kubiak as Fox's replacement to try to coax another title out of aging QB.
Important additions: Kubiak; TE Owen Daniels; FB James Casey; LT Ty Sambrailo; DE Vance Walker; C Gino Gradkowski.
Important losses: LG Orlando Franklin; TEs Jacob Tamme and TE Julius Thomas; NT Terrance Knighton; S Rahim Moore; WR Wes Welker; C Will Montgomery.
Expectations: Broncos again are loaded with talent, especially on defense, but big questions in trenches must be answered quickly for them to again challenge Tom Brady and New England for AFC supremacy and give Manning chance to close out career on top.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Last year: Despite rash of early injuries, Chiefs were off to 7-3 start following win over eventual NFC champion Seahawks. Lost four of final six, missing playoffs when Ravens secured last spot ahead of Kansas City in final week of regular season. LB Derrick Johnson missed most of season with torn Achilles tendon, while SS Eric Berry was diagnosed with lymphoma. QB Alex Smith had up-and-down season in first year following four-year, $68 million contract extension.
Important additions: WR Jeremy Maclin; S Tyvon Branch; OLs Ben Grubbs and Paul Fanaika.
Important losses: TE Anthony Fasano; WRs Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery.
Expectations: Chiefs should be competitive again in tough AFC West, especially if first-year players contribute immediately. Maclin gives them legitimate downfield threat. RB Jamaal Charles is healthy after spending much of last season banged-up. All-Pro LB Justin Houston is happy with new deal, which should make defense among best in league.
Last year: Raiders went through two coaches and won just three games in 12th straight season without winning record or playoff berth. Dennis Allen was fired after team lost first four games and interim coach Tony Sparano lost his first six in charge.
Important additions: Coach Jack Del Rio; WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree; C Rodney Hudson; S Nate Allen; LBs Curtis Lofton and Malcolm Smith; DT Dan Williams; RBs Trent Richardson and Roy Helu Jr.; TEs Clive Walford and Lee Smith.
Important losses: WR James Jones; RBs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew; C Stefen Wisniewski; CBs Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers; DTs Antonio Smith and Pat Sims; LB Miles Burris; S Tyvon Branch.
Expectations: Del Rio is team's ninth coach since 2003 and has brought enthusiasm and proven staff headed by defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Raiders are playing on one-year lease in Oakland and have expressed interest in moving to Los Angeles.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Last year: Went from 5-1 to missing playoffs for fourth time in five seasons. Couldn't hang with elite of AFC, losing consecutive December home games to Patriots and Broncos. Needed only to win season finale at Kansas City, against backup quarterback Chase Daniel, but lost 19-7 as QB Philip Rivers was sacked seven times.
Important additions: CB Patrick Robinson; S Jimmy Wilson; WRs Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones; G Orlando Franklin; DL Mitch Unrein; RB Melvin Gordon; LB Denzel Perryman.
Important losses: C Nick Hardwick; G Jeromey Clary; OLB Jarret Johnson.