COACH: BILL BELICHICK
16th season (175-65, .729)
LAST SEASON: 12-4, won division, def. Seattle, 28-24, in the Super Bowl.
OUTLOOK: Tom Brady breathed a huge sigh of relief when a federal judge overturned his four-game suspension, so the defending Super Bowl MVP gets his wish to start the season. It'll be a tall order to repeat, especially for a team that lost so many key players from last year's championship team -- including CBs Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, DT Vince Wilfork, and all-purpose RB Shane Vereen. But the Pats are still the class of the division, even if the Jets, Dolphins and Bills may be ready to at least close the gap.
COACH: JOE PHILBIN
Fourth season (23-25, .479)
LAST SEASON: 8-8-0, third in division
OUTLOOK: Ryan Tannehill's new contract will pay him $95 million over six years, so the Dolphins remain all-in on their 2012 first-round pick. But the offense may experience some initial growing pains, since Jarvis Landry is Tannehill's only holdover receiver from 2014. The Dolphins traded for Saints wideout Kenny Stills, and signed wideout Greg Jennings and TE Cameron Jordan. The defense is highlighted by newly signed DT Ndamukong Suh, veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake and elite cover CB Brent Grimes.
COACH: REX RYAN
LAST SEASON: 9-7, second in division
OUTLOOK: Ryan has breathed plenty of life into the franchise, and Bills fans are translating that enthusiasm into a record 60,000-plus in season-ticket sales. It was time for Ryan to move on after six years with the Jets, but he's in a good spot with the Bills. Terrific defense. Traded for RB LeSean McCoy, who may be a bit gimpy with a hamstring early on. Now the big question is what happens with newly installed QB Tyrod Taylor in his first starting gig.
COACH: TODD BOWLES
LAST SEASON: 4-12, fourth in division
OUTLOOK: Bowles is the anti-Rex Ryan in terms of his media approach, but the Jets can use a meat-and-potatoes, straightforward approach after Ryan's tenure ran its course. Bowles is a former player who comes from the Bill Parcells-Bruce Arians coaching tree -- a good coaching background if there ever was one. He's already faced with big challenges after Geno Smith got punched out in the preseason and Sheldon Richardson was slapped with a suspension for substance abuse and might be hit with more penalties after being arrested for drag racing over the summer. But there's plenty of talent on defense, thanks to first-year GM Mike Maccagnan's free-agent spending spree, and WR Brandon Marshall should spark the passing game.