NFL season preview: Who is heading to Super Bowl 51?

Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 last season. Photo / AP
Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 last season. Photo / AP

The 2016 NFL season opens today with a rematch of Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the defending champion Denver Broncos. Washington Post's Mark Maske breaks down every roster, ranking them in predicted order of finish within each division, while Neil Greenberg provides a Fancy Stat to focus on during the season ahead.

NFC East

NEW YORK GIANTS

2015 RECORD: 6-10

OUTLOOK:
The Giants would have been far better, and perhaps a playoff team, last season if only they'd held on to late leads and won the games they should have won. That cost former coach Tom Coughlin his job and led to the promotion of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. The pieces are in place for McAdoo and the Giants to be effective offensively. They must hope that the approximately $204 million worth of contracts they handed out on the opening day of free agency serves to fix their defense.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Pass rusher Olivier Vernon was part of the Giants' free agent spending spree on defense. Remember when the Coughlin-coached Giants rode their pass rush to two Super Bowl triumphs? Vernon and the re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul must lead the way in that department if the Giants are going to get back into the playoffs.

FANCY STAT: 9.8
Percentage of third-and-10 plays ending in a first down, third lowest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $3
Super Bowl winner: $21

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

2015 RECORD: 9-7

OUTLOOK:
The defending NFC East champs have enough going for them to repeat in a division that remains less than overwhelming. QB Kirk Cousins faces a "prove it" season after being given the franchise tag and failing to sign a long-term deal. He has a good group of receivers and an improving offensive line. On defense, the secondary now should be a strength with CB Josh Norman's arrival. But there are deficiencies. Is there enough pass-rushing help for LB Ryan Kerrigan? And can the offense summon an effective running game?

IMPACT ADDITION:
Norman was one of the league's best defensive players last season in Carolina, and the Panthers' decision to rescind his franchise tag and allow him to exit as a free agent remains a mystery to many observers. He has had plenty to say since arriving in D.C. Now he must back it up and show he can remain on an elite level without the benefit of having the front seven of the Carolina defense in front of him.

FANCY STAT: 54.0
Opposing quarterback rating on throws with Norman in coverage, lowest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $4
Super Bowl winner: $36

DALLAS COWBOYS

2015 RECORD: 4-12

OUTLOOK:
The question of whether Tony Romo could stay healthy already has been answered. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, that answer is no. They will begin the season without Romo after he suffered a broken bone in his back during the preseason, sidelining him for an estimated six to 10 weeks from when he was hurt. With Romo, the Cowboys were a threat to get back into contention and perhaps reclaim the division crown they won in 2014. Without him? Who knows. Rookie Dak Prescott takes over at quarterback after a dazzling preseason.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Prescott, of course, will be in the spotlight. But so, too, will rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott, taken with the fourth overall selection in the NFL draft. If the Cowboys can lean on Elliott and their offensive line in similar fashion to the way in which they relied on DeMarco Murray and his blockers in 2014, Prescott's task becomes a bit less daunting.

FANCY STAT: 108
Number of sacks, hits and hurries allowed by the Cowboys' offensive line, fewest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.75
Super Bowl winner: $31

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

2015 RECORD: 7-9

OUTLOOK:
Chip Kelly is long gone as coach and roster architect, and the Eagles spent part of their offseason undoing much of what Kelly did after he was handed total control over player decisions a year earlier. It probably won't be an immediate turnaround under Howie Roseman, restored as the front-office decision-maker, and Doug Pederson, the first-year coach. The trade of Sam Bradford to the Vikings eight days before the season opener accelerates the timetable for rookie Carson Wentz to take over at QB. Is he ready? It won't take long to find out.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Wentz faces a huge transition from North Dakota State to the NFL, and now he no longer has the luxury of developing at his own gradual pace. The talent is there, and those who have been around him say that Wentz has the proper attitude and demeanor. But it is not an ideal situation.

FANCY STAT: 0.78
Yards allowed per snap while S Malcolm Jenkins was in primary coverage against the slot receiver, second lowest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $4
Super Bowl winner: $36

NFC North

GREEN BAY PACKERS

2015 RECORD: 10-6

OUTLOOK:
The competition for the division title eased considerably when the Vikings lost third-year QB Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury. Still, the Packers probably need QB Aaron Rodgers to return to something close to MVP-caliber production if they're going to be a threat to make a run deep into the NFC playoffs. His passer rating of 92.7 last year was his lowest in any season since becoming Green Bay's starter in 2008. The return of WR Jordy Nelson from last year's season-ending knee injury suffered during the preseason should help considerably.

IMPACT ADDITION:
General Manager Ted Thompson stuck to his usual low-key approach to roster retooling. Rookie DT Kenny Clark, drafted in the first round, was plagued by a back injury during the preseason but will have to be in the regular season playing rotation almost by necessity.

FANCY STAT: 43.3
Rodgers's completion percentage under pressure, third worst in 2015.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $1.40
Super Bowl winner: $8.50

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

2015 RECORD: 11-5

OUTLOOK:
QB Teddy Bridgewater's dislocated knee and torn anterior cruciate ligament ended his season before it began and changed everything for the Vikings. With Bridgewater, who reached the Pro Bowl last season as a second-year pro, Minnesota could have had legitimate aspirations to be a top NFC contender. Now the issue becomes whether they can make things work with the late addition of Sam Bradford at QB. Bradford is a talented passer who has been productive when healthy. Can he stay healthy and can he adapt to his new surroundings in time for the Vikings to be the team they thought they'd be with Bridgewater?

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Vikings used a first-round pick on WR Laquon Treadwell to try to give Bridgewater another resource to rev up the passing game. Now the issue becomes whether Bradford will be able to utilize the rookie.

FANCY STAT: 76
Percentage of runs on third or fourth down with two yards or fewer to go that achieved a first down or touchdown, second best in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $4.50
Super Bowl winner: $26

CHICAGO BEARS

2015 RECORD: 6-10

OUTLOOK:
Adam Gase, as Chicago's offensive coordinator, seemed to get through to QB Jay Cutler last year and coaxed a good season out of him at a time when just about everyone appeared ready to give up on him. But now Gase is gone, having left for the head coaching job with the Dolphins. The issue is whether Cutler can continue his career upswing without Gase. He has good receivers in Alshon Jeffery, who must prove himself while playing on the franchise tag, and Kevin White, the former first-round draft selection who returns after being injured and missing his entire rookie season.

IMPACT ADDITION:
LB Danny Trevathan led the Broncos in tackles in two of the past three seasons but was among the major free agent defections from Denver's Super Bowl-winning defense. He provides a badly needed upgrade at inside linebacker.

FANCY STAT: 16
Percentage of runs when the running back was tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage, second best in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $12
Super Bowl winner: $61

DETROIT LIONS

2015 RECORD: 7-9

OUTLOOK:
The abrupt retirement of WR Calvin Johnson evoked memories of another Lions great, Barry Sanders, leaving the sport at a relatively young age. Johnson will be missed, and there's little to indicate that he exited from a team on the verge of doing big things. QB Matthew Stafford played well last season, with 32 TDs and 13 interceptions, but he'd probably have to step it up even further for the Lions to get back into the playoff hunt.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Lions went out and got the best wide receiver available in free agency. It speaks to the weakness of the free agent market at that position that the receiver was Marvin Jones, who was coming off a 65-catch, 816-yard season with the Bengals. Jones is a good player and his addition should help the Lions, as he will be paired with Golden Tate. But he is not likely to make anyone forget Johnson.

FANCY STAT: 69.4
Percentage of red-zone plays ending with a touchdown, second highest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $8
Super Bowl winner: $41

NFC South

CAROLINA PANTHERS

2015 RECORD: 15-1

OUTLOOK:
The reigning NFC champs now attempt to take the next step and win a Super Bowl. Only the 1971 Cowboys and 1972 Dolphins have won a Super Bowl on the heels of a Super Bowl defeat the previous season. There is no reason to believe that QB Cam Newton won't sustain his MVP excellence from last season. He became an efficient pocket passer in addition to being a sensational playmaker. The passing offense could be more dangerous with the return of WR Kelvin Benjamin from last season's knee injury. The biggest issue will be replacing standout CB Josh Norman.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Benjamin isn't exactly an addition, but his return could feel like a major one to Newton. Benjamin had 73 catches for 1,008 yards and nine TDs as a rookie in 2014. Working him back into the offense didn't always seem to go seamlessly during the preseason, but Newton and the Panthers should be able to figure it out.

FANCY STAT: 43
Red-zone touchdowns scored, most in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $1.40
Super Bowl winner: $10

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

2015 RECORD: 6-10

OUTLOOK:
QB Jameis Winston had a productive rookie year, and the Buccaneers hung around the fringes of the playoff race for much of the season. But a poor finish cost Lovie Smith his job as the team's coach. The Buccaneers promoted Dirk Koetter from offensive coordinator to head coach, hoping to foster a sense of stability for Winston and others. It still is a transition, but Winston seems determined to turn the team into a winner, spending the offseason sculpting his body and vowing to improve "everything" about his game.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Few NFL rookies will face more scrutiny and pressure than Tampa Bay PK Roberto Aguayo after the Buccaneers used a second-round draft pick on him. The attention seemed to get to him at times during a preseason that included some major struggles. But he steadied himself and perhaps still could prove to be a difference-maker in close games.

FANCY STAT: 15.3
Percentage of offensive drives that were three-and-outs, second lowest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $8.50
Super Bowl winner: $101

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

2015 RECORD: 7-9

OUTLOOK:
There was plenty of talk at the Saints' training camp about the team's defense being far more competitive with its offense on the practice field than it had been in previous years. Well, there really was no other direction to go after the New Orleans defense was ranked 31st in the league last year and set single-season NFL records for yielding the most TD passes, with 45, and allowing the highest passer rating by opponents, at 116.2. If there is actual improvement on defense, the Saints can dream of being winners again because the offense always has been productive with Coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Veteran LB James Laurinaitis was unwanted by the Rams but could end up being a significant pickup for the Saints. He gives them a stabilizing veteran presence and a sure tackler in the middle of a defense that needs those things.

FANCY STAT: 29.8
Points allowed per game, highest among defenses in 2015.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $7
Super Bowl winner: $61

ATLANTA FALCONS

2015 RECORD: 8-8

OUTLOOK:
A 6-1 start gave way to a 2-7 finish to last season that left Dan Quinn's first year as the team's coach feeling like a bit of a disappointment. But in truth, the Falcons made progress after going 6-10 in 2014. They were contenders for half a season, at least, and they handed the Panthers their lone loss of the regular season. Still, more will be expected this time around. QB Matt Ryan had his moments last season but needs to improve on his 21-touchdown, 16-interception year.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Falcons signed WR Mohamed Sanu in free agency after he spent his first four NFL seasons with the Bengals. Sanu was a versatile player in Cincinnati who could run with the ball or even throw it on gadget plays. In Atlanta, he needs to be a productive receiver to complement Julio Jones. Sanu had only 33 catches for 394 yards last season after 56 catches for 790 yards in 2014.

FANCY STAT: 3.04
Yards per route run by Jones in 2015, most among wideouts.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $6
Super Bowl winner: $41

NFC West

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

2015 RECORD: 10-6

OUTLOOK:
The Seahawks, after two straight Super Bowl appearances, were overtaken by the Cardinals in the NFC West last season and failed to reach the NFC title game. Now they move on without retired RB Marshawn Lynch. They should be just fine. Second-year pro Thomas Rawls takes over as the primary ballcarrier, provided that he is fully recovered from last season's broken ankle. But the team's offensive identity seemed to shift last season as QB Russell Wilson continued to develop into an ever-more-reliable pocket passer. The key is the offensive line's ability to protect him.

IMPACT ADDITION:
First-round draft choice Germain Ifedi is penciled in to start at right guard. The Seattle offensive line needs to be better than it was last season, and the addition of Ifedi should help in that regard.

FANCY STAT: 15
Number of touchdown passes thrown 20 yards or more by Wilson, most in the league.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $1.80
Super Bowl winner: $8.50

ARIZONA CARDINALS

2015 RECORD: 13-3

OUTLOOK:
QB Carson Palmer looked rather ordinary during the preseason. But assuming there is not a major dropoff in Palmer's performance level as he enters his 14th NFL season, the Cardinals should continue to vie for division and conference supremacy. The defense was hindered late last season by the absence of injured do-everything, play-everywhere standout Tyrann Mathieu. He's back. And if newcomer Chandler Jones improves the pass rush as projected, the Cardinals could be a team without any obvious deficiencies.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Jones had 36 sacks in four seasons with the Patriots, including 121/2 last season. He is one of the league's best young pass rushers. But he is eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season, meaning he is about to become far more expensive.

FANCY STAT: 71.0
Number of expected points contributed by Palmer above a replacement-level quarterback last season, most in the league.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.35
Super Bowl winner: $11

LOS ANGELES RAMS

2015 RECORD: 7-9

OUTLOOK:
The franchise begins the first season of its return to the Los Angeles market seeking a new beginning on the field as well. The Rams are yet to have even a .500 season during the tenure of their fifth-year coach, Jeff Fisher. The talent is there, at least to hear the Rams tell it. They have been fond of talking about how well they did in stockpiling draft picks via the 2012 Robert Griffin III trade with the Redskins. It's beyond time to turn that foundation-building into some winning results. The offense can be constructed around second-year RB Todd Gurley, and at some point rookie QB Jared Goff will take over for Case Keenum.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Rams traded up to get Goff with the top overall selection in the draft. It's a bit odd that he begins the season behind Keenum. He demonstrated in college, after all, that he is tough-minded, having rebounded from playing for a dreadful Cal team early on.

FANCY STAT: 24.5
Percentage of drives ending in an offensive score, worst in the league last season.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $9
Super Bowl winner: $51

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

2015 RECORD: 5-11

OUTLOOK:
The preseason was dominated by the national debate over QB Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem as a protest of racial issues plaguing the country. But there also was speculation that Kaepernick's days with the organization could be numbered because of on-field considerations, not political views. The skills that once would have made him a perfect fit for the fast-break offense of Chip Kelly, the first-year coach of the 49ers, rarely were on display during his starting-QB competition with Blaine Gabbert. So Gabbert gets the first chance to make Kelly's offense work.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The 49ers could have addressed their QB situation in the early stages of the draft. Instead they went with DT DeForest Buckner with the No. 7 pick. Buckner better be good, given what the 49ers passed up.

FANCY STAT: 73
Number of tackles for NaVorro Bowman at or behind the line of scrimmage (including sacks), most among inside linebackers.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $21
Super Bowl winner: $101

AFC East

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

2015 RECORD: 12-4

OUTLOOK:
The Patriots try to remain well positioned early in the season with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB while Tom Brady serves his four-game Deflategate suspension. Will it work? The preseason results were mixed. Garoppolo played relatively well overall, but the New England offense went scoreless with him on the field in the Week 3 preseason game that usually matters the most. The early schedule is relatively kind, with a tough opener at Arizona but then three straight home games against the Dolphins, Texans and Bills.

IMPACT ADDITION:
There was recent speculation that TE Martellus Bennett, obtained in an offseason trade, might not be a sure thing to make the roster. But assuming he remains, Bennett could be an asset. Brady often has thrived with two productive pass-catching tight ends, and Bennett could team with Rob Gronkowski to create such a setup.

FANCY STAT: 43.2
Percentage of drives ending in an offensive score in 2015, which led the league.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $1.47
Super Bowl winner: $8.50

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2015 RECORD: 6-10

OUTLOOK:
Adam Gase takes over as head coach after offensive coordinator stints with the Broncos and Bears. His work with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler drew praise. Now his QB project becomes getting the most out of Ryan Tannehill. Gase spent training camp praising Tannehill's passing production thus far in his career and saying that Tannehill will get his share (or more) of the credit when the team improves and gets into the playoffs. Gase has made it clear that reducing the number of sacks absorbed by Tannehill is a priority.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Draft night was a bit of a calamity for Laremy Tunsil, who dropped through the first round after a video of Tunsil seemingly smoking marijuana surfaced on social media. But the Dolphins ended his plummet, and he appears set to open the season starting at guard.

FANCY STAT: 18
Sacks, hits and hurries allowed by T Branden Albert, fewest in the league among tackles lining up for at least 400 passing plays.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $7.50
Super Bowl winner: $41

NEW YORK JETS

2015 RECORD: 10-6

OUTLOOK:
It took far too long for the Jets to re-sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency. But at least the two sides got the deal done on the eve of training camp, and now Fitzpatrick and the Jets can try to pick up where they left off last season (but perhaps with a better ending this time and a spot in the playoffs). Fitzpatrick still has WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker as his primary targets. The defense again must lead the way. The Jets ranked second in the league in rushing defense and fourth in total defense last season.

IMPACT ADDITION:
How much can RB Matt Forte add to the offense? He is a dual threat who topped 1,000 rushing yards and 800 receiving yards two seasons ago with the Bears. But he turns 31 in December. He is entering his ninth NFL season and coming off a down season, by his standards, in which he failed to reach 900 rushing yards or 400 receiving yards.

FANCY STAT: 57.1
QB rating on throws with Darrelle Revis in coverage in 2015, third lowest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $6
Super Bowl winner: $36

BUFFALO BILLS

2015 RECORD: 8-8

OUTLOOK:
Has Rex Ryan's coaching act begun to wear thin? He went 8-8 last year in his first season in Buffalo, giving him five straight non-winning seasons with the Jets and Bills since reaching the AFC title game in each of his first two seasons with New York. He has brought in his brother Rob to attempt to help fix a defense that underachieved last season. The Bills ranked 19th in the league in total defense. The franchise gave QB Tyrod Taylor a financial vote of confidence with a new contract. He played well enough last season for the Bills to break their long playoff drought.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Rookie DT/DE Adolphus Washington likely will begin the season as a starter. He was a third-round draft pick. First-round pick Shaq Lawson will start the season on the PUP list with a shoulder injury, and second-rounder Reggie Ragland (knee) is on IR.

FANCY STAT: 63.8
Percentage of yards that came in the air (total yards minus yards after the catch) for Taylor, second most among qualified quarterbacks.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $6
Super Bowl winner: $51

AFC North

CINCINNATI BENGALS

2015 RECORD: 12-4

OUTLOOK:
It was all set up for things to be different for the Bengals last season, with QB Andy Dalton playing at a level that put him on the fringes of the league MVP discussion and the team perhaps set to end its string of winless postseasons under Dalton and Coach Marvin Lewis. But then Dalton got hurt and the Bengals reverted to being the Bengals, losing a rugged playoff game to the Steelers. Dalton is back, and this remains a solid team. WRs Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones exited in free agency. But the Bengals again should be among the AFC's best teams.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Rookie WR Tyler Boyd, selected in the second round of the draft out of Pittsburgh, has an opportunity to contribute immediately because of the departures of Jones and Sanu. The Bengals will need him to progress quickly, and the signs were encouraging during the preseason.

FANCY STAT: 121.2
Quarterback rating on passes to A.J. Green, second highest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.60
Super Bowl winner: $14


PITTSBURGH STEELERS

2015 RECORD: 10-6

OUTLOOK:
WR Martavis Bryant is suspended for the season. RB Le'Veon Bell is suspended for three games. That means the Pittsburgh offense will be diminished from what it might have been. But it doesn't mean the offense will be anything less than formidable. As long as QB Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy and in the lineup, the Steelers should be able to make good on their vow that their offense will remain productive and they will continue to have realistic Super Bowl hopes.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Rookie CB Sean Davis, a second-round draft choice from Maryland, is slated to open the season as the No. 3 cornerback behind starters William Gay and Ross Cockrell. Davis was drafted with thoughts of playing him at safety. But he has moved ahead of first-round pick Artie Burns at corner after Burns was plagued by a quadriceps injury.

FANCY STAT: 27.2
Percentage of dropbacks in which Roethlisberger was put under pressure, lowest among qualified quarterbacks.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.20
Super Bowl winner: $11

BALTIMORE RAVENS

2015 RECORD: 5-11

OUTLOOK:
It has been so far, so good in QB Joe Flacco's return from last season's knee injury. The Ravens can succeed only if all is well with him. He could have an interesting set of receivers if everything works out with Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman. The loss of TE Benjamin Watson to a season-ending torn Achilles' tendon was highly disappointing, with him coming off a standout year for the Saints. Pass rusher Terrell Suggs returns to the defense, and free agent addition Eric Weddle gives the Ravens another leader for the defense at safety.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Ravens surprised no one by using the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft on a left tackle. But they did surprise many when that tackle was Ronnie Stanley, not Laremy Tunsil. The Ravens can only hope that Stanley steps right in and becomes a mainstay.

FANCY STAT: 6.35
Average time from the snap of the ball to when Flacco scrambled past the line of scrimmage last season, highest among quarterbacks.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $3.75
Super Bowl winner: $31

CLEVELAND BROWNS

2015 RECORD: 3-13

OUTLOOK:
This is all about Hue Jackson and Robert Griffin III. Jackson gets his second head coaching chance after being fired, inexplicably to some, following one 8-8 season with the Raiders, then restoring his coaching reputation as a Cincinnati assistant. Players spent the offseason talking about the new organizational attitude instilled by Jackson. No one should expect miracles in Year 1, of course. But there at least seems to be some hope that respectability is within sight. Jackson decided to go with Griffin at QB and see if there is any way to help him recapture some of his rookie year magic.

IMPACT ADDITION:
WR Josh Gordon isn't a newcomer, of course. It just feels like it, given his inability to keep himself eligible. But he will be able to return in Week 5, and if he can be anything resembling the player that he was earlier in his career, his presence might improve the chances of Griffin and Jackson succeeding.

FANCY STAT: 2.26
Average points allowed per drive by the defense, second worst in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $26
Super Bowl winner: $151

AFC South

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

2015 RECORD: 8-8

OUTLOOK:
Andrew Luck returns from his injury-shortened 2015 season. He has a contract befitting the sport's top young quarterback. Now he has to get back to playing that way. Were his struggles last season while he was on the field attributable to not being fully healthy? Or was there something else at play? It's time to find out. Owner Jim Irsay stuck with Ryan Grigson as the team's general manager and Chuck Pagano as its coach after the disappointments of last season. That surprised many in and around the sport, especially after the Colts had added veteran players in a Super Bowl-or-bust approach that went decidedly bust. The key now is to get Luck back on course.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Colts used the draft's 18th pick on a center, Alabama's Ryan Kelly. If Kelly is paired with Luck anywhere near as successfully as Peyton Manning once teamed with Jeff Saturday, it will have been worth it.

FANCY STAT: 26.5
Net yards per offensive drive, third worst in the NFL last season.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.10
Super Bowl winner: $21

HOUSTON TEXANS

2015 RECORD: 9-7

OUTLOOK:
The Texans were a playoff team last season but simply had to do something about their quarterback situation following Brian Hoyer's miserable performance against the Chiefs in Houston's postseason defeat. The Texans moved decisively in free agency to pry Brock Osweiler from the Broncos. Did they overpay? Perhaps. But Osweiler at least gives the Texans a chance to get some decent play at quarterback. At the very least, J.J. Watt deserved that so that he wouldn't have to spend any more of his career carrying a team with so little help from its signal caller.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Osweiler obviously is the key to everything. He had his moments last season. He was the Broncos' best quarterback during the regular season, but Coach Gary Kubiak went back to Peyton Manning for the playoffs. That miffed Osweiler, reportedly to the point that it was a factor in his departure.

FANCY STAT: 90
Sacks, hits and hurries by Watt, 12 more than the next best 3-4 defensive end.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $3.20
Super Bowl winner: $31

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

2015 RECORD: 5-11

OUTLOOK:
The Jaguars haven't had a .500 season since 2010 or a winning season since 2007. But there are some things about which to be optimistic here. QB Blake Bortles looks like the real deal after throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 TDs last season as a second-year pro. The Jaguars have put some playmakers around him on offense, and DE Dante Fowler Jr., CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Myles Jack provide an influx of young talent on defense.

IMPACT ADDITION:
All eyes will be on Ramsey, the fifth overall selection in the draft. There were pre-draft questions about whether he would be a cornerback or a safety in the NFL. Some wondered whether he will be an NFL playmaker after having only three career interceptions while in college at Florida State. But there were talent evaluators who regarded him as the best player available in this draft.

FANCY STAT: 43.1
Bortles's completion percentage under pressure, lowest among qualified quarterbacks.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $3.75
Super Bowl winner: $51

TENNESSEE TITANS

2015 RECORD: 3-13

OUTLOOK:
The Titans are going about things the right way. They have their franchise quarterback in place in Marcus Mariota and have been rightfully protective of him whenever he has dealt with an injury issue. They skillfully traded down from the No. 1 pick in the draft to get additional selections to build around Mariota. One can question the decision to make a coaching change so early in Mariota's career. But at least the Titans tried to preserve a measure of continuity by promoting Mike Mularkey from offensive coordinator to interim coach and then retaining him as head coach.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Things didn't work out for RB DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia, but the trade that sent him to Tennessee gives him a fresh start. Murray and rookie Derrick Henry give the Titans a pair of powerful runners.

FANCY STAT: 14.3
Percentage of run plays on which Wesley Woodyard stopped the rusher at or behind the line of scrimmage, most among inside linebackers.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $11
Super Bowl winner: $101

AFC West

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

2015 RECORD: 11-5

OUTLOOK: Andy Reid did a terrific coaching job last season to get the Chiefs into the playoffs. He should have them back in the thick of the division race this season, with RB Jamaal Charles returning from last season's knee injury to help QB Alex Smith. Charles's comeback remains a work in progress, with questions persisting about his readiness to resume being a full-time player early in the season. The more pressing issue might be the return of LB Tamba Hali from his knee injury. The Chiefs might have a difficult time being without Hali's pass rushing presence given that fellow LB Justin Houston will miss the start of the season.

IMPACT ADDITION: The Chiefs signed Mitchell Schwartz, formerly of the Browns, to a five-year, $33 million deal to be their starter at right tackle. That means he could spend plenty of time this season lined up across from Denver's Von Miller and Oakland's Khalil Mack.

FANCY STAT: 7.1
Percentage of offensive drives ending in a turnover, second lowest in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.80
Super Bowl winner: $16

DENVER BRONCOS

2015 RECORD: 12-4

OUTLOOK:
Trevor Siemian takes over as the starting quarterback with Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler in Houston. It won't be that difficult for him to put up better passing numbers than Manning did last season. The bar is not set that high, after all. But repeating last season's team success will be extremely difficult. The defense remains excellent. But does it remain historically superb? That remains to be seen following free agent departures by some key contributors, including LB Danny Trevathan and DE Malik Jackson. The Broncos certainly shouldn't disappear from contention, but nothing will be easy.

IMPACT ADDITION:
Rookie QB Paxton Lynch doesn't open the season as the starter. But the Broncos didn't trade up in the first round to get him for nothing. His chance will come, and it probably will come at some point this season unless Siemian greatly exceeds expectations.

FANCY STAT: 1.38
Average points allowed per drive by the defense in 2015, best in the NFL.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $2.60
Super Bowl winner: $17

OAKLAND RAIDERS

2015 RECORD: 7-9

OUTLOOK:
The Raiders reached respectability last season, and now a winning season and playoff contention are the reasonable next goals. Derek Carr certainly is a playoff-caliber quarterback, coming off a season in which he threw for 3,987 yards and 32 TDs as a second-year pro. He is surrounded by very good receivers, led by Amari Cooper, and supported by a solid running game. LB/DE Khalil Mack is an NFL defensive player of the year candidate. No one should be surprised if the Raiders make this a three-way competition for AFC West supremacy.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Raiders added LB Bruce Irvin in free agency as a defensive complement to Mack. Irvin is a decent pass rusher, with 51/2 sacks last season and 22 in his four seasons with Seattle, but he also is a versatile player who can drop into pass coverage when asked to do so.

FANCY STAT: 5.3
Number of plays per offensive drive, fourth-lowest average in the NFL last season.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $3.80
Super Bowl winner: $41

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

2015 RECORD: 4-12

OUTLOOK:
It is a year that will determine the franchise's future in San Diego, with a stadium-financing measure on the November ballot and the Chargers still having the option to join the Rams in Inglewood, Calif., next year. It also is a season that reportedly could determine Coach Mike McCoy's future with the organization. There has been speculation that McCoy's job could be in jeopardy if the Chargers stumble again. So much falls once more on QB Philip Rivers to make things work.

IMPACT ADDITION:
The Chargers drafted Ohio State pass rusher Joey Bosa third overall and then . . . nothing. They failed to get him signed for far too long, costing Bosa his entire rookie-year training camp and preseason. Maybe Bosa will be a quick study and move seamlessly into the lineup. But if that doesn't happen, there is plenty of room to wonder why the team allowed the negotiations to drag on for so long.

FANCY STAT: 737
Total yards after the catch by RB Danny Woodhead, most among all pass catchers.

TAB ODDS
Division winner: $6.50
Super Bowl winner: $51

- Washington Post

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