2007 record in parentheses:


SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (13-3, 15-4 including postseason)

Strengths: One of most talented, deepest lineups in NFL. Fans will be satisfied with nothing short of Super Bowl victory. Same with players, who are trying to cut down on smack talk regarding Super Bowl.

Weaknesses: Five key players are coming off injuries. QB Philip Rivers (knee), TE Antonio Gates (foot), center Nick Hardwick (foot) and NG Jamal Williams (knees) all had surgery. Rivers and Williams are good to go, Gates hopes to be ready by opening day and Hardwick could miss as many as first six games. RB LaDainian Tomlinson sprained left knee during playoffs but didn't need surgery.

Players to watch: Rivers, to see if his knee holds up, and Tomlinson, NFL's two-time rushing champion.

Biggest change: Rookie Jacob Hester will take over as L.T.'s backup from Michael Turner, who left as free agent for Atlanta.

Schedule key: Generally considered easy, with five of last eight at home. Chargers will face Patriots and Colts at home.


Strengths: QB Jay Cutler has regained 35 pounds and zip on his throws he lost when his Type 1 diabetes went undiagnosed late last season. His receiving corps is led by Brandon Marshall and rookie Eddie Royal.

Weaknesses: PK Matt Prater will have to replace Jason Elam, franchise's leader in points and games, who bolted for Atlanta.

Players to watch: Cutler, Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler; CB Champ Bailey and LB D.J. Williams.

Biggest change: Revamped offensive and defensive lines.

Schedule key: Broncos need to at least split first two games with AFC West foes Oakland and San Diego while Marshall is serving suspension for violating league's personal conduct policy.


Strengths: Running back, tight end.

Weaknesses: Inexperience at key positions and suspect veterans, especially at linebacker and on offensive line.

Players to watch: TE Tony Gonzalez, QB Brodie Croyle, RB Larry Johnson, WR Dwayne Bowe, DT Glenn Dorsey, OL Branden Albert, DB Brandon Flowers.

Biggest change: New offensive coordinator, new offense and an entirely new philosophy of throwing out the old and rebuilding with youth.

Schedule key: Season opener. Lucky Chiefs get to be the first team to play at New England since Super Bowl loss ruined Patriots' perfect season. How well this young team rebounds from blowout everyone logically expects could go long way toward determining what kind of year it is in KC.


Strengths: DeAngelo Hall joins Nnamdi Asomugha in one of best cornerback tandems in league. Team is also deep at running back with 1,000-yard rusher Justin Fargas and rookie Darren McFadden.

Weaknesses: Javon Walker got paid like No. 1 receiver but hasn't shown the ability in training camp. Other receivers haven't been much better, leaving JaMarcus Russell with few options to throw to. Offensive line is strong in running game, but tackles Kwame Harris and Cornell Green have problems protecting QB.

Players to watch: Russell, McFadden, TE Zach Miller, LB Thomas Howard, DT Tommy Kelly.

Biggest change: Russell opens season as starter after Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper split most of duties last season. Russell started only one game as rookie following holdout.

Schedule key: Only one of first 12 games comes against team that had winning record a year ago, giving Raiders chance to get off to decent start.