NFL 2014 PREVIEW

For Patriots, Super Bowl is only measuring stick

For a team that’s won 10 games every year for more than a decade, reclaiming the Lombardi Trophy is the true measure of success.

CHRISTOPHER L. GASPER

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/09/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/Chris_Gasper_150px-7821.jpg Tom Brady fueled by doubts about his ability

The critics said this year he’s no longer elite. But Brady has made a career out of bucking the odds and sticking around longer than expected.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/09/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/a68a5bba7fe842f79dd2a3c72394d58a-a68a5bba7fe842f79dd2a3c72394d58a-0[1]--90x90.jpg Darrelle Revis brings Patriots back to title roots

In adding strong, physical cornerbacks, the Patriots’ secondary wants to have the menacing presence it’s lacked for nine seasons.

Revamping defense was a priority for Patriots

Adding players like Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner was aimed at better preparing New England for playoff success.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/09/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davis_nephil4_spts-7821--90x90.jpg Patriots offense hinges on Rob Gronkowski

Gronkowski, who’s missed 14 games over the past two years, can do for the Patriots offense what no player other than Tom Brady can.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/09/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/454042388[1]--90x90.jpg AFC preview: Broncos again a top threat

It should be business as usual for Peyton Manning. They’ll produce a ton of points, win the division, and square off against the Patriots for the AFC title.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/09/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/74d21c9fddaf44a6b18bd0456a881c33-74d21c9fddaf44a6b18bd0456a881c33-0-7851--90x90.jpg NFC preview: How high can Eagles fly?

If Chip Kelly and Nick Foles can limit his turnovers, the Eagles will be dangerous this season.

Best and worst scenarios for all 32 NFL teams

Here’s an outline for how the 2014 season could play out and who might be lifting the Lombardi Trophy.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/08/28/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/453979792-7726--90x90.jpg NFL awards forecast for 2014

Who will take home the individual hardware this season? Explore as we project some of the big names to rise and fall this season.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/08/29/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/1fcd4ef9de6e4e7f9b040ec078154079-1fcd4ef9de6e4e7f9b040ec078154079-0-7811--90x90.jpg Fans’ guide to NFL’s 2014 season

Here’s a checklist for the new rules and new faces you’ll find this season around the NFL.

interactive

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/09/03/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/cover-7872--90x90.JPG About our special section print cover

The cover of this year’s section is a “fold-in” inspired by MAD Magazine. Explore the interactive version here.

Breaking down the Patriots roster

A look at how the roster has evolved and how the positions groups compare with last year’s team.

SPORTS MEDIA

Patriots, Broncos are prime-time TV players

The TV networks just can’t get enough of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, who both will be prominently featured throughout the season.

A look at the Patriots schedule

Breaking down the 16 games on the Patriots regular-season schedule.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/08/25/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/2262e93daf044a74906f59ed118ce177-2262e93daf044a74906f59ed118ce177-0.jpg Patriots’ QB stability unmatched across NFL

During the Tom Brady era, teams that can’t find a reliable and durable quarterback tend to lose a lot.

Ed Ryan | Gambling

Why I’ll be better at NFL gambling in 2014

Losing sinks your confidence and leaves you in a paralyzed state of self-doubt, but let’s look at the 2014 season this way: I haven’t lost an NFL bet in over six months!

Ed Ryan | Fantasy football

Fantasy sleepers for 2014 season

Here are a handful of players, likely undrafted or drafted in later rounds, who we think will make an impact.

Patriots schedule

Sept. 7: at Miami , 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sept. 14: at Minnesota, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sept. 21: vs. Oakland, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sept. 29: at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN/Monday)
Oct. 5: vs. Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Oct. 12: at Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Oct. 16: vs. NY Jets, 8:25 p.m. (CBS/Thursday)
Oct. 26: vs. Chicago, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Nov. 2: vs. Denver, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Nov. 9: Bye
Nov. 16: at Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Nov. 23: vs. Detroit, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Nov. 30: at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Dec. 7: at San Diego, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Dec. 14: vs. Miami, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Dec. 21: at NY Jets, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Dec. 28: vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)