The defending champion Giants opened the year with a loss on Wednesday to the Cowboys. Eli Manning is looking to lead New York to their third title in six seasons, while Tony Romo attempts to reach his first Super Bowl with Dallas.
The Patriots begin the season as the favorites to win it all, after losing in the Super Bowl to the Giants in February. The betting Web site Bovada sets there odds at taking home the title at 11/2.
Green Bay is the favorite in the NFC at 6/1 to win the championship. They almost had a perfect season in 2011, going 15-1. The Packers were upset by the Giants in their first playoff game, and are led by MVP Aaron Rodgers.
The Eagles, Bears and Broncos all missed the postseason in 2011, but are expected to make some noise this year. All three teams have Super Bowl odds of at least 15/1. Peyton Manning is playing his first year in Denver, after missing all of last season. Both Philadelphia and Chicago struggled with injuries to their quarterbacks.
Five different teams will be led by rookie quarterbacks.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were selected with the first two picks of April's draft. They'll try to help the Colts and Redskins improve on last place finishes.
Ryan Tannehill was taken by the Dolphins at No.8 and Brandon Weeden went at 22 to the Browns. Russell Wilson surprised many when he was named the Seahawks starter. The third-round pick beat out free agent Matt Flynn for the job.
Tim Tebow was the biggest story of 2011 and will look to make an impact with the Jets. The quarterback will back up Mark Sanchez, but could be on the field close to 20 times a game in the team's Wildcat package. Rex Ryan insists that Sanchez is New York's starter, though Tebow could be called upon if Sanchez's struggles continue.
The Saints will play the entire 2012 season without head coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Both received year-long suspensions because of the bounty scandal.
The officials have become one of the biggest stories heading into the new season. Replacement referees were used the entire preseason, as the league is in the midst of a lockout of the regular officials. The new refs were heavily criticized for their performance in August, and many fear that they could negatively affect meaningful games.
Despite the controversy, every team will make their debuts this weekend. All 32 teams are set to begin their quest to reach the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2013 in New Orleans.
Here are some predictions for the 2012 NFL Season, including individual awards and a Super Bowl winner:
MVP: Tony Romo
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Morris Claiborne
Coach of the Year: Jason Garrett
NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC West
Dallas Green Bay Atlanta San Francisco
Philadelphia Detroit New Orleans St. Louis
NY Giants Chicago Tampa Bay Seattle
Washington Minnesota Carolina Arizona
Wild Card: Detroit, Philadelphia
Championship Game: Dallas over Green Bay
AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC West
New England Pittsburgh Houston Denver
Buffalo Cincinnati Indianapolis San Diego
Miami Baltimore Tennessee Oakland
NY Jets Cleveland Jacksonville Kansas City
Wild Card: San Diego, Buffalo
Championship Game: Houston over New England
Dallas over Houston