The new NFL season kicks off Thursday night with the Green Bay Packers visiting the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, followed by a full slate of games Sunday and Monday night.

Not caught up on the major storylines for 2014? Read these quick takes on all 32 teams and you'll sound like a seasoned pro around the water cooler. Do they still have those? Alright... charging station?

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Traded up to draft receiver Sammy Watkins, but jury is out on second-year QB E.J. Manuel and the defence lost stars Kiko Alonso (injury) and Jairus Byrd (free agency).

Miami Dolphins: Should be less drama with bullying-scandal figures Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin gone.

New England Patriots: Perennial Super Bowl contenders hope QB Tom Brady's off year (for him) was a fluke and new cornerback Darrelle Revis can recapture his All-Pro form.

New York Jets: Same story — need coach Rex Ryan's defensive genius to cover for talent-poor offence and second-year QB Geno Smith's mistakes.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Super Bowl champs in 2012 season, missed playoffs last year, now dealing with domestic-violence scandal involving star running back Ray Rice, who's suspended for the first two games.

Cincinnati Bengals: Everyone rags on QB Andy Dalton, but the Red Rifle has made the playoffs in each of his first three seasons and has never missed a start.

Cleveland Browns: Only a matter of time before Johnny "Football" Manziel replaces overrated Ohio boy Brian Hoyer at quarterback, but excitement tempered by NFL receiving-yards leader Josh Gordon's season-long marijuana suspension.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Fading power in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year, which hasn't happened since 1998-2000.

AFC South

Houston Texans: Last year's pre-season Super Bowl hopefuls lost their final 14 games, but bounce-back hopes abound after drafting pass-rush phenom Jadeveon Clowney first overall.   

Indianapolis Colts: Super third-year QB Andrew Luck is the Sun King of an otherwise thin roster. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: League's go-to laughingstock (despite winning more games than Houston and Washington) drafted project passer Blake Bortles third overall.

Tennessee Titans: Make-or-break year for oft-injured, erratic QB Jake Locker.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: League's top offensive team — Peyton Manning threw for a record 55 (!) TDs — was embarrassed by Seattle in the Super Bowl, then added veteran stars DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib to shore up the defence.

Kansas City Chiefs: Rode soft schedule, excellent health and run/catch machine Jamaal Charles to nine-game improvement, now a prime candidate to regress.

Oakland Raiders: Signed a bunch of OK veterans in an effort to reach mediocrity, then gave their starting QB job to rookie Derek Carr over shell-shocked vet Matt Schaub.

San Diego Chargers: Coach Mike McCoy rejuvenated veteran passer Philip Rivers last year, now must repair porous defence.

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Philly's LeSean (Shady) McCoy rode coach Chip Kelly's innovative offensive tactics to an NFL rushing title last season. (Elsa/Getty Images)

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Salary-cap concerns forced Jerry Jones to release star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, putting more pressure on QB Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant to outscore opponents.

New York Giants: Two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning threw 27 picks last year (five more than anyone else) and the injuries piled up, but neither is likely to happen again.

Philadelphia Eagles: Division champs are really fun to watch with coach Chip Kelly's vanguard offensive tactics and aggressiveness on fourth down helping NFL rushing champ Shady McCoy run wild.

Washington: Seriously, ditch the nickname already, guys.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: Former CFL coach Marc Trestman's pass-happy offence leans on massive receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, but the defence needs to rebound from an un-Chicago-like year.

Detroit Lions: Perennial disappointments ditched coach Jim Schwartz for Jim Caldwell, who should try to rein in QB Matt Stafford and continue to feed peerless receiver Calvin Johnson.

Green Bay Packers: Won the division despite losing MVP-calibre QB Aaron Rodgers for half the season, and now he's back to form a potent pass/run combo with second-year back Eddie Lacy.

Minnesota Vikings: Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater waits in the wings if/when Matt Cassel falters, while new coach Mike Zimmer (ex-Bengals defensive boss) aims to improve everything surrounding star runner Adrian Peterson.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: Went from being a play away from the Super Bowl to 4-12 last year, but top wideout Julio Jones is healthy and Matt Ryan is a good passer.

Carolina Panthers: Defence sparked a surprise division title last year, but the offence is talent-poor and QB Cam Newton is already banged up.

New Orleans Saints: Have maybe the best coach-QB combo in the league with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, just need the defence to be good enough.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Respected defensive specialist Lovie Smith replaces volcanic coach Greg Schiano; running back Doug Martin, an excellent rookie two years ago, returns from a shoulder injury.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Superb cornerback Patrick Peterson anchors an excellent defence, but veteran QB Carson Palmer (24 TDs, 22 INTs last year) is always a risk to implode.

San Francisco 49ers: Three straight NFC title-game appearances, but linebacker NaVorro Bowman is out with a knee injury, pass rusher Aldon Smith is suspended for nine games, and coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly was close to leaving in the off-season.

Seattle Seahawks: Youth and skill on both sides of the ball gives the Super Bowl champs a much better chance of repeating than fluky Ravens and Giants title teams that preceded them.  

St. Louis Rams: Ever-disappointing QB Sam Bradford is out for the year with a knee injury, but the defence is fierce, even in a division of fierce defences.