Head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady are used to coming out on top in the AFC East. Getty

The 2017 NFL season starts Thursday night when the New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs in what could be a very early preview of the AFC Championship game. Such a marquee matchup sparks interest in how the NFL season will play out, as both conferences have a great deal of parity.

The Patriots are still considered the top team in the conference, though they can once again face competition from the Pittsburgh Steelers and from a loaded AFC West.

The NFC might be a bit more wide open with the Green Bay Packers expected to face stiff competition from the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and last year's conference winner the Atlanta Falcons.

According to oddsmakers, the Patriots are the frontrunners to win the Super Bowl with 13/4 odds, and are followed by the Seahawks (8/1), Packers (10/1) and Steelers (10/1).

Breaking down the divisions can provide a better understanding of each team's chances of winning the title.

AFC East

Another great season from the Patriots is basically in the bag with three teams that don't seem to have much of a chance to make the postseason. The Dolphins may have a slight edge on the Bills, but they are both quite mediocre. The Jets, meanwhile, are a long way from being a competitive team.

1. New England Patriots

2. Miami Dolphins

3. Buffalo Bills

4. New York Jets

AFC North

The Steelers have a clear edge because of their stacked offense, but the battle for second place should be interesting. The Ravens and Bengals will need a lot to go right to earn a wild-card berth because both have holes in their defense. Though the Browns have made gains from a dreadful season, they are still very much a work in progress.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Cincinnati Bengals

4. Cleveland Browns

AFC South

This division is loaded with questions and might be up for grabs if the Titans' offense isn't running at full strength. The Texans have an elite defense but there is some uncertainty at quarterback. The Colts may be in for a long season if Andrew Luck isn't healthy and if the rookies on defense don't thrive. The Jags don't look ready to compete for a postseason berth because of a makeshift defense.

1. Tennessee Titans

2. Houston Texans

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West

The toughest division in football has all four teams as contenders to make the postseason. The Chiefs are probably strong enough to come out on top, but the Broncos will probably make it interesting if they get production at quarterback. The Raiders have lofty expectations and could easily win the division if the defense overachieves. It would be foolish to overlook the Chargers, though they may feel awkward playing at StubHub Center.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2. Denver Broncos

3. Oakland Raiders

4. Los Angeles Chargers

NFC East

This is among the most interesting divisions in the league. The Cowboys and Giants both boast strong offenses, and it wouldn't be a shock if this is a tight finish. The Redskins and Eagles are both good enough to finish with .500 records but a wild-card berth for either team might be a stretch.

1. Dallas Cowboys

2. New York Giants

3. Washington Redskins

4. Philadelphia Eagles

NFC North

The Packers are probably the best team in the conference and the Vikings are serious contenders for a wild-card berth. The Lions have a shot to finish with .500 record, but that seems doubtful if the defense doesn't have a big year. The Bears are rebuilding with an eye towards 2018.

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Minnesota Vikings

3. Detroit Lions

4. Chicago Bears

NFC South

This division might be more competitive than many think. The Falcons, who defied expectations in 2016, will likely edge the Panthers, while the Bucs look like they can make a serious run at a playoff berth if Jameis Winston has a big year. It wouldn't be surprising if the Saints make a run at the playoffs, as well.

1. Atlanta Falcons

2. Carolina Panthers

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. New Orleans Saints

NFC West

The Seahawks are the class of the division and could possibly win the division with just 10 wins. The Cardinals are showing some age and face a tough task in earning a wild-card berth, while the Rams could be a surprise team after retooling their receiving unit. It's hard to see the 49ers finishing with more than four wins.

1. Seattle Seahawks

2. Arizona Cardinals

3. Los Angeles Rams

4. San Francisco 49ers