A team jumping from worst to first isn't so rare anymore, which meanseveryone's preseason playoff hopes aren't crazy at all
By PETER KING
O.K., so 16--0 is probably out of reach, but here's a best-case scenario foreach team ... which, if you're a Jets fan, may be just 8--8
By PETER KING
80 Play Loud
Yeah, his bark is bad--but his bite is worse, which is why the always quotableAll-Pro Joey Porter is the most feared man in football
By MICHAEL SILVER
Say hello to the next generation of NFL superstars--nine players coming off bigyears in which they revealed extraordinary talent
Photographs by ROBERT BECK
94 Back in theOpen
Larry Johnson's transformation from malcontent to leader has been as quick anddramatic as one of his bursts up the middle
By JEFFRI CHADIHA
For each team, the starting lineup, schedule, a breakout player to watch andanalyses by an SI writer and an opposing team's scout
12 Leading Off
29 Air andSpace
Dikembe Mutombo embraces a continent of orphans by Steve Rushin
• MLB steroid probe--Bud lite?
• Putting the brakes on power golf
44 Faces in theCrowd
206 Life ofReilly
Fantasy baseball becomes reality--and it's a nightmare by Rick Reilly
• The AL has too many MVPs
• Bristol done Mark Martin wrong
• Shane Battier's very hot summer
• Arizona State runs a QB reverse
PHOTOGRAPH BYMICHAEL O'NEILL
INSET PHOTOS:Robert Beck (Hasselbeck); Simon Bruty (McNabb); Peter Read Miller (Brady); AlTielemans (Favre); Donald Miralle/Getty Images (Culpepper); James D.Smith/WireImage.com (Bledsoe)
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Roger Federer isthe favorite in the men's draw, but this U.S. Open belongs to Andre Agassi(right), who's calling it quits after 20 years. For Jon Wertheim's thoughts onAgassi's farewell, a gallery of Andre's top 10 career moments and coverage ofthe two-week tournament, go to SI.com/tennis.
With his victory atBristol on Saturday, Matt Kenseth (left) became one of the first drivers tolock up a spot in the 10-man Chase for the Cup. Go to SI.com/nascar forcoverage of the final two races leading to the Chase and for SI.com'spredictions on who's likely to win this year's points championship.
Get the latestupdates and the best stories about each NFL team, including the San DiegoChargers and LaDainian Tomlinson (right), at SI.com's new team pages atSI.com/football/nfl/teams. Also, check out a gallery of the league's bestquarterback--wide receiver tandems at SI.com/nfl.
SI.com's StewartMandel had Notre Dame in the No. 2 slot in his preseason power rankings. Willthe Irish still be there after their Sept. 2 game against Georgia Tech? Checkout Mandel's new rankings every Tuesday, his mailbag on Wednesdays and hisblogs (updated five times a week), all at SI.com/collegefootball.
RON LEBLANC/WIREIMAGE.COM (TWINS)
50 JUSTIN FOR ALL Joe Mauer may win the AL battingtitle, but Minnesota teammate Justin Morneau (34) will give him a run for the league MVP award.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (KENSETH); BOB MARTIN (AGASSI); PETER READ MILLER (TOMLINSON)