1. NEW ENGLAND (predicted finish: 12-4)
The Patriots remain the standard in the AFC East and should be back in the final four once again.
2. N.Y. JETS (6-10)
They could make a playoff push if everything breaks right. The issue is that things rarely break right for the Jets.
3. MIAMI (7-9)
The revamped offensive line must come together quickly if Ryan Tannehill has a chance to lead this team anywhere.
4. BUFFALO (4-12)
There are too many new faces on the roster for the Bills to have faith in doing anything this season.
1. INDIANAPOLIS (11-5)
Andrew Luck should look even better with Reggie Wayne healthy. This could be the year the Colts become elite.
2. HOUSTON (9-7)
Last year was a fluke. Even with a new coach in Bill O’Brien, this team is far too talented not to rebound this season.
3. TENNESSEE (6-10)
Things are starting to come together for the Titans. It’s probably just too soon for them to get there.
4. JACKSONVILLE (3-13)
Another team that has put together some talented pieces. But like the Titans, the Jaguars need a year to marinate.
1. CINCINNATI (10-6)
Andy Dalton is going to have to prove he’s worth his contract for this talented team to go anywhere.
2. BALTIMORE (9-7)
They’re still in transition, but they should be healthier than they were a year ago. Does Steve Smith have enough left?
3. PITTSBURGH (8-8)
The Steelers could make a run at the division title if their revamped running game harvests results.
4. CLEVELAND (5-11)
It doesn’t matter who plays quarterback if Josh Gordon isn’t on the field to catch passes.
1. DENVER (12-4)
The Broncos are still the class of the AFC and should make another run at the Super Bowl — if they survive a tough schedule.
2. SAN DIEGO (9-7)
Will Andy Reid really make that much of a difference? Well, they probably can’t do much worse, can they?
3. KANSAS CITY (6-10)
The Chiefs have lost some talent and haven’t replenished the coffers. Expect them to take a step backward.
4. OAKLAND (4-12)
The skid continues. It’s hard to find many things to get excited about when looking at the Raiders’ roster.
AFC PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
Wild-card round: Chargers over Bengals, Colts over Ravens
Divisional round: Patriots over Colts, Broncos over Chargers
AFC Championship: Patriots over Broncos
Super Bowl XLVIII: Seahawks over Patriots