By Tim Graham
All across the country, the local newspaper's annual football preview section is one of the comforting reminders the season is upon us.
This morning, The Buffalo News published its NFL edition. Our theme is the excitement surrounding the Buffalo Bills as they try to end the NFL's longest active playoff drought.
Nothing beats having all of the stories in one section that you can fold under your arm, take wherever you go and keep as a reference. Our award-winning photographers, graphic designers and editors produced another gorgeous issue.
But for those who want to read it online, here are the links to our staff's columns and articles that look ahead to the 2012 season:
* In the cover story, longtime Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan lays out the hopeful upcoming season through the prism of futility.
* Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan calls this year's squad the best since they reached the playoffs in 1999. Sully also predicts the Bills' record -- numbers that suggest heavily whether he thinks this is a playoff team.
* Gaughan investigates the Bills' roster and provides his take on their top strengths and biggest concerns. Then he predicts' the Bills' final record and whether or not they make the postseason cut.
* How favorable is Buffalo's schedule? Although his viability remains dubious, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better quarterback than most of his counterparts each week. I consulted QB-oriented analysts Steve Beuerlein and Jim Fassel for a game-by-game breakdown of the matchups.
* The Bills are sole owners of the NFL's longest drought because the Detroit Lions reached the playoffs last season. Jay Skurski examines how the Lions pulled it off, revealing a blueprint the Bills could follow.
* Buffalo's ongoing playoff hiatus has taken a toll on the fans. Even with all the offseason splashes, the Bills aren't close to matching their season-ticket base of four years ago.
* Gaughan takes a spin through the schedule to give his take on the rugged patches and most winnable games.
* We even have your roto needs covered. Skurski chats with CBSSports.com fantasy expert Dave Richard about tips to end your team's misfortunes and make a run at the league title.
* Buffalo News media columnist Greg Connors speaks with Lackawanna native and film-room junkie Ron Jaworski about the "all-22" coaches' film being made available to the public this year.
(Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)