Sept 2 (Reuters) - Following are brief profiles of the 16 teams in the American Football Conference (AFC) ahead of the 2013 National Football League season.
Head coach: John Harbaugh
2012 Record: 10-6 (AFC North champions won it all, defeating Indianapolis Colts 24-9 in wild card play, Denver Broncos 38-35 in double overtime in divisional round, New England Patriots 28-13 for AFC championship and San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl)
Joe Flacco and Ray Rice are back to lead the Super Bowl champions' offense, but the Ravens are weak at wide receiver without Anquan Boldin. The defense takes on a different look with Ray Lewis's retirement and Ed Reed's departure.
Head coach: Doug Marrone
2012 Record: 6-10 (The Bills' playoff drought reached 13 seasons in 2012, which is the longest active streak in the NFL)
The Bills are scrambling at quarterback after injuries to new signee Kevin Kolb and a knee procedure sidelining rookie E.J. Manuel for the preseason.
Head coach: Marvin Lewis
2012 Record: 10-6 (Made it to the playoffs but were ousted by Houston Texans 19-13 in wild card game)
Expectations are on the upswing, but can quarterback Andy Dalton deliver? Rookie tight end Tyler Eifert and first-year running back Giovani Bernard provide Dalton with new targets. Once touted linebacker James Harrison joins the defense but has age caught up with him?
Head coach: Rob Chudzinski
2012 Record: 5-11 (Fifth consecutive losing season for a Browns team that has not made the playoffs since the 2002 campaign)
The Browns, with new coach Rob Chudzinski, are showing signs they might be ready to end five consecutive seasons of double-digit losses. The schedule will help. But smart play will be needed by quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Trent Richardson and tight end Jordan Cameron.
Head coach: John Fox
2012 Record: 13-3 (Strong season by the AFC West winners ended in a 38-35 double overtime loss to Baltimore Ravens in divisional round)
The class of the West, the Broncos have Super Bowl ambitions. Week One may reveal how serious they are with playoff nemesis Baltimore coming to town. Quarterback Peyton Manning has the best wide receivers in the league with the addition of Wes Welker. The defense, though, will suffer from the six-game suspension of linebacker Von Miller.
Head coach: Gary Kubiak
2012 Record: 12-4 (AFC South winners turned back Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in wild card play but were eliminated by New England Patriots 41-28 in divisional round)
Twice division champions, balanced Texans are aiming for longer stay in postseason. Rookie DeAndre Hopkins joins Andre Johnson to give quarterback Matt Schaub another target if Hopkins can overcome concussion worries. The defense, led by league defensive player of year J.J. Watt, adds safety Ed Reed but offseason surgery may slow his return.
Head coach: Chuck Pagano
2012 Record: 11-5 (Playoffs ended early for Colts, who lost to Baltimore Ravens 24-9 in wild card game)
Quarterback Andrew Luck should improve and has a stronger line to protect him. But Colts, with tougher schedule, may find it difficult to match last year's turnaround season. Still they could challenge Texans for AFC South title with running back Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey key additions.
Head coach: Gus Bradley
2012 Record: 2-14 (Jaguars wrapped up their worst season by losing 12 of their final 13 games)
Weak Jaguars, set to play at least one game in London for the next four years, try to rebuild under new coach Gus Bradley. Secondary should be upgraded, especially with rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien, Questions remain on offense, including whether Blaine Gabbert is the answer at quarterback.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Head coach: Andy Reid
2012 Record: 2-14 (Failed to break double digits six times during a 16-season season where they scored the fewest points of all 32 teams)
Optimism abounds for remade Chiefs, who start afresh with new coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith. There will most likely be improvement with effective play from efficient Smith and a solid secondary. But reaching the postseason this year may be a stretch.
Head coach: Joe Philbin
2012 Record: 7-9 (First-year signal-caller Ryan Tannehill became the first rookie quarterback in Dolphins history to complete a full season as the team's starting quarterback)
Offseason upgrades in offensive line and on defense give the Dolphins a chance to move above .500 if they can work through a tough early schedule. Tannehill benefits from the addition of receiver Mike Wallace. But can anyone fill the shoes of departed running back Reggie Bush?
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Head coach: Bill Belichick
2012 Record: 12-4 (AFC East champs beat Houston Texans 41-28 in divisional round but lost AFC title game to Baltimore Ravens 28-13)
The offseason has not been kind to Patriots with Aaron Hernandez's indictment on murder charges, Rob Gronkowski's slow recovery from surgery and the departure of Wes Welker to Denver. But with Tom Brady at quarterback and a solid defense the Patriots remain the class of the AFC East.
NEW YORK JETS
Head coach: Rex Ryan
2012 Record: 6-10
The Jets may be worse than ever. The quarterback of the future, Geno Smith, did not have a good preseason and holdover Mark Sanchez has a shoulder injury. Although the Jets beat the Giants in preseason, getting ball in the end zone could be a problem. And the defense? Questions there too with the departure of Darrelle Revis and LaRon Landry.
Head coach: Dennis Allen
2012 Record: 4-12 (Endured 10th consecutive non-winning season and 10th consecutive campaign of missing playoffs.
Unsettled situation at quarterback with Terrelle Pryor likely to beat out offseason signee Matt Flynn greets a team looking for stability. Running game depends on whether Darren McFadden can stay healthy. On defense, massive rebuild could lead to nine new starters.
Head coach: Mike Tomlin
2012 Record: 8-8 (Narrowly avoided the storied franchise's first losing campaign in nearly a decade by winning their final game of the season)
Steelers look to rebound from second-half slump in 2012, dropping six starters from that squad. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger appears season-ready but needs to avoid injuries that have plagued him in past. The defense remains strong despite James Harrison's departure. Still Baltimore and Cincinnati could again top Steelers in AFC North.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Head coach: Mike McCoy
2012 Record: 7-9 (Missed playoffs for third consecutive sesaon)
A make-or-break season awaits quarterback Philip Rivers after Chargers missed the playoffs for the past three years. He needs a lot more help from a weak offensive line, though. The defense, especially the line, also needs a boost. New coach Mike McCoy will have his challenges.
Head coach: Mike Munchak
2012 Record: 6-10 (Set a franchise mark for most points allowed in a season with 471, worst in the NFL in 2012)
How well quarterback Jake Locker plays could determine what kind of season Titans have. Both the passing game, with receivers Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt, and the running game, where 1,200-yard rusher Chris Johnson excels, need improvement. So does a defense that ranked the NFL's worst in points allowed in 2012. Otherwise Tenneesee's four-year playoff skid continues (Compiled by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)