ARIZONA: Combine the difficulty of playing in the desert with the return of yard-gobbler David Johnson and a healthy Sam Bradford or a talented rookie in Josh Rosen and maybe, just maybe the Cards can be a factor in a strengthened NFC West division.
ATLANTA: They had a Vince Lombardi trophy ripped from them then stuttered early in the 2017/18 campaign but with the kinks out of the way, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian should get the very best out of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu.
BALTIMORE: Either Joe Flacco embraces the challenge thrown his way and the Ravens become relevant again or he doesn’t and a new era dawns thanks to former Heisman Trophy-winning Louisville QB Lamar Jackson who has already looked the goods in pre-season action.
BUFFALO: The more things change the more things stay the same in western New York as Tyrod Taylor ships out and AJ McCarron and – more importantly – Josh Allen come in but much of their success relies upon LeSean McCoy A) avoiding suspension and B) rushing like an All Pro.
CAROLINA: I recently heard a rumour that Carolina would move on from Cam Newton should he and the Panthers have a bad season which could be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in 2018.
CHICAGO: There’s no buzz and no hype coming out of the Windy City but the bones of a great defence are in place and the Bears finally have some playmakers on offence in QB Mitch Trubisky, back Jordan Howard and free agent signing Allen Robinson.
CINCINNATI: Marvin Lewis remains, as does Andy Dalton and a few often undisciplined veteran players but should things go south early on, Lewis – among others – could be right above the bunsen burner.
CLEVELAND: Maybe it’s me getting swept up in the Hard Knocks action but I love what’s happening in Cleveland with Tyrod Taylor and/or Baker Mayfield under centre, Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon (hopefully) catching passes and a really young, athletic and talented defence.
DALLAS: It’s an interesting season ahead in Big D with veterans Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone with very little to replace them, meaning Ezekiel Elliott will need to be absolutely outstanding to carry this team past Philadelphia in the NFC East.
DENVER: Bradley Chubb will revitalise the still deadly defence whilst Case Keenum finds himself in a very similar situation in Denver to the one he was in with Minnesota which ended in a NFC Championship appearance.
DETROIT: The inconsistency of the Lions backfield has been borderline comical but LeGarrett Blount’s acquisition will likely only improve the goal line rushing so, again, Matt Stafford will try and throw his way into the post-season.
GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers is angry and has more than one reason to make everyone else pay after the Packers released his good buddy Jordy Nelson, not to mention the fact Rodgers had an MVP-calibre season derailed through injury and is playing for a record-breaking new contract at some point.
HOUSTON: Deshaun Watson gets back to his amazing rookie self, JJ Watt gets back to 80% of the three-time defensive player of the year JJ Watt and this is a team built for playoff success.
INDIANAPOLIS: Andrew Luck is actually throwing footballs and in his absence it seems the Colts have finally realised he needs to be protected more so here’s hoping both those things happen to a high level.
JACKSONVILLE: It’s a combustible young squad but boy is it talented and likely to wreak havoc upon every opposition offence in the NFL whilst all Blake Bortles needs to do is keep the defence somewhat spread and Leonard Fournette will do the rest.
KANSAS CITY: This team made a bold, bold move trading out a quality QB in Alex Smith to hand the keys to a nifty offence to young gunner Patrick Mahomes in what looms as a make or break move from Head Coach Andy Reid.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: Not even relocating to the big smoke has amped up this team’s reputation but Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Derwin James and Casey Hayward should give Phillip Rivers ample opportunity to win many games.
LOS ANGELES RAMS: Sean McVay turned Jared Goff and co. into an offensive juggernaut but the real key lies in an other-worldly talented defence which boasts names like Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and a still unsigned Aaron Donald and whether they can remain unified and on task.
MIAMI: Ryan Tannehill returns from an ACL operation and his position as starting QB is completely up in the air whilst many other questions are in play about this uninspiring roster and defiant coach.
MINNESOTA: In my opinion, Kirk Cousins is an upgrade on Case Keenum which means last season’s NFC Championship appearance should at least be the measuring stick for this extremely well-built and well coached squad.
NEW ENGLAND: Where’s there’s smoke there’s usually fire so I expect there to be some truth about the Belichick-Brady relationship being worn thin but this team also has a unique ability to block out the noise and find a way to win at all costs.
NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees took a back seat to the Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara show and this defence exploded into life in the latter part of the season but I’ll be keeping a watch on this squad who will be without Ingram for the opening month and endured a heartbreaking end to their season.
NEW YORK GIANTS: Saquon Barkley was chosen No. 2 overall to reinvigorate the Giants offence, take some load off Eli Manning, re-energise the Giants fans and more than anything, run the rock until defences give in, just like Zeke Elliott did across the division.
NEW YORK JETS: Much like a handful of other teams, Gang Green is looking for its franchise QB which would begin a desperately needed roster overhaul for a consistently underperforming squad – enter USC QB Sam Darnold.
OAKLAND: Jon Gruden signed on to coach the Raiders for a $100m across the next decade and he has promised to return his salary should things not succeed in Oakland and Las Vegas once the team relocates.
PHILADELPHIA: They won a Super Bowl with their franchise QB on the injury list so should anything like the 2017/18 Carson Wentz turn up then the Eagles will again be a force to be reckoned with.
PITTSBURGH: Again, Le’Veon Bell is skipping camp in protest to contract negotiations but all that matters is when the ball is in play, Bell will be toting – and catching – the rock at a furious rate whilst we all know what Antonio Brown will be doing on the outside but will it be enough to get over the hump ?
SAN FRANCISCO: The fortunes of this historic franchise seemingly changed when they traded for former New England QB Jimmy Garoppolo and once he started behind centre the team could not lose so here’s hoping he continues his winning ways in the Bay Area.
SEATTLE – With the Legion of Boom basically extinct and Beast Mode now fading away in Oakland, the vaunted Seahawks are battling to remain relevant in a difficult NFC West with Russell Wilson being asked to carry an abnormally high load.
TAMPA BAY: Huge concerns lay in western Florida with franchise QB Jameis Winston suspended to being the season, no real dependable presence at running back and a defence which looks excellent on paper but performed well beneath its potential last season.
TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota appeared to be a genuine star but injuries have somewhat curtailed his excellence so this season looms as crucial under new coach Mike Vrabel and with Derrick Henry taking over the lead role at RB from DeMarco Murray.
WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins is a loss, despite the Redskins appearing to never truly value him as a franchise QB, so adding someone like Alex Smith was a marvellous cover to continue a competitive, if not successful, run under Jay Gruden.