1. Baltimore Ravens (16.0)
Offense: RB Ray Rice is centerpiece of running game, but Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain are nice complements. WR Anquan Boldin gives second-year QB Joe Flacco a legit No. 1 target. Newcomers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth also join loaded-up receiving corps that include Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap. Promising LT Michael Oher stars on solid offensive line. Grade: 4.5.
Defense: LB Ray Lewis remains the cornerstone of a dominant front seven that also features pass-rushing OLB Terrell Suggs and run-stuffing DT Haloti Ngata. Newly acquired CB Josh Wilson helps, but the secondary remains a big concern with FS Ed Reed (hip surgery) on PUP for first six weeks. Grade: 4.0.
Special teams: K Billy Cundiff and P Sam Koch had solid '09 seasons. Return specialist Chris Carr is steady. Grade: 3.5.
Coaching: John Harbaugh has guided the team with a steady hand. Grade: 4.0.
On the spot: FS Tom Zbikowski.Can he handle it as Reed's replacement?
Prediction: The Super Bowl isn't a far-fetched idea. Record: 10-6.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (16.0)
Offense: The passing game should be much improved with WR Terrell Owens, first-round TE Jermaine Gresham and rookie WR Jordan Shipley giving QB Carson Palmer more weapons besides Chad Ochocinco. But the focal point remains RB Cedric Benson, who averaged 96.2 yards per game (second in the NFL) in '09 behind a young, improving offensive line. Grade: 4.5.
Defense: CBs Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, maybe the NFL's best tandem, headline an aggressive unit that ranked fourth in the league last season. The front seven is loaded with unheralded but emerging talent. Grade: 4.5.
Special teams: The return game looks good, P Kevin Huber flashed as a rookie and Mike Nugent has a strong leg. Grade: 3.0.
Coaching: Marvin Lewis calls the shots, but lets his assistants do their job with limited interference. Grade: 4.0.
On the spot: Owens. At 36 years old, will he help the offense or hinder it?
Prediction: Will prove last season was no fluke. Record: 10-6.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (15.5)
Offense: With QB Dennis Dixon starting while Ben Roethlisberger serves four-game suspension and Byron Leftwich recovers from a sprained knee, the Steelers will lean heavily on RB Rashard Mendenhall (1,108 yards in '09). Second-year speedster Mike Wallace is ready to emerge as No. 2 receiver opposite Hines Ward. Rookie C Maurkice Pouncey should help an offensive line that yields too many sacks. Grade: 4.0.
Defense: Blitz-happy LBs LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior accounted for 33.5 of team's 46 sacks in '09. The return of All-World SS Troy Polamalu and underrated DE Aaron Smith from injuries boosts a unit that was lost without them. Grade: 4.5.
Special teams: K Jeff Reed and P Dan Sepulveda are reliable, but coverage (allowed four kickoff return TDs in '09) and return game need work. Grade: 2.5.
Coaching: Mike Tomlin and staff usually make the right moves. Grade: 4.5.
On the spot: Dixon. Has to keep ship afloat until either Leftwich or Big Ben returns.
Prediction: Won't give up a playoff spot without a fight. Record: 9-7.
4. Cleveland Browns (12.5)
Offense: QB Jake Delhomme has something to prove after a miserable 2009 season in Carolina. But he inherits the NFL's worst offense, one that lacks playmakers outside of WR Josh Cribbs and RB Jerome Harrison. The O-line is OK, especially the left side where Pro Bowl T Joe Thomas resides. Grade: 2.0.
Defense: NT Shaun Rogers is the only member of front seven that opponents have to game plan for. The Browns found ways to get to the quarterback last season (40 sacks) and must do it again to protect a secondary that could start two rookies (CB Joe Haden and FS T.J. Ward). Grade: 2.5.
Special teams: Cribbs is second to none as a return specialist. He had four return TDs last season, three on kickoffs. K Phil Dawson, 35, is still going strong. Coverage is a strength. Grade: 5.0.
Coaching: Eric Mangini's hard-line approach got results late last season. Grade: 3.0.
Prediction: Division too tough to handle. Record: 4-12.