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September 7, 2009 Table Of Contents

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The Yangover

The start of the FedEx Cup playoffs proved that what happened at Hazeltine did not stay there

By Michael Bamberger

Young An

By Rick Lipsey

Here's the Deal

The forecast for this winter? A flurry of trades that could include some of the biggest stars in the game

By Jon Heyman

Kazmir KO'd

By Joe Sheehan

Fast Climbers

None were among the top 70 picks in April, but these opportunistic rookies deserve a spot on your draft board

By David Sabino

Born to Run

A breakaway threat who might score on any play, Cal's Jahvid Best could juke his way into the Heisman race

By Albert Chen


Wideouts Gone Wild

They're among the greatest athletes in sports—and often the loudest. As Offenses become ever more reliant on their skills, the NFL's new stars are dominating the air and the airwaves. Welcome to the receivers revolution

By Tim Layden


Already among the elite receivers, Larry Fitzgerald went stratospheric in the 2008 playoffs. A snapshot look at one of the NFL's most compelling figures

By Jim Trotter


That would be quarterback in the NFL, of course. So what does it take to make it? SI gathered five of the league's elite young players at the position, opened up the notebook and let them tell us

By Peter King

Peter King's QB POLL's Monday Morning Quarterback columnist called on five NFL experts to evaluate the league's passers in critical categories

By Peter King


1 New England PATRIOTS

He directed the most prolific offense in NFL history two years ago. Now Tom Brady is back, and the outlook is Super

By Ben Reiter


A fad, or the future? This season will tell whether the Wildcat, which sparked the Fins' playoff run, is here to stay

By Andrew Lawrence

3 New York JETS

The Rex Ryan era begins—and it's no surprise that the tone will be set by a swarming, stifling, run-stopping defense

By Andrew Perloff

4 Buffalo BILLS

There's a new star in town, but the reality is that one man—even one with his own TV show—can't turn things around

By Ben Reiter

1 Pittsburgh STEELERS

If continuity is the key to the defending champions' success, then '09 is looking like another good year

By Peter King

2 Baltimore RAVENS

A new coordinator won't mess with their defensive style. Will his new tactics get them past the Steelers?

By Peter King

3 Cincinnati BENGALS

Branded a bust in Chicago, tailback Cedric Benson is one of several castoffs being counted on to help a woeful team change its stripes

By Ben Reiter

4 Cleveland BROWNS

It'll take a Mangenius to fix all the mistakes by the lake—and the floundering franchise hopes it has one in its new coach

By Ben Reiter

1 Houston TEXANS

With the core players hitting their prime, this bunch is (finally) ready to reach the top in a daunting division

By Damon Hack

2 Indianapolis COLTS

What do you do when the second-leading receiver in NFL history is gone? Indy turned to its bench instead of the draft

By Peter King

3 Tennessee TITANS

The defense's new boss knows all about smashmouth. But can hard hitting make up for a massive loss up front?

By Don Banks


After an off-season housecleaning, Jack Del Rio's underachievers are restoring their toughness and direction

By Damon Hack

1 San Diego CHARGERS

With Shawne Merriman pumping electricity back into the defense, the prospects are looking sunnier for the Bolts

By Peter King

2 Kansas City CHIEFS

The rush is on to shape an LSU-dominated front seven into a unit that pressures the other team, for a change

By Lee Jenkins

3 Denver BRONCOS

The big shake-up came at QB, but if the defense can't keep the score down, it won't matter who's throwing the ball

By Jim Trotter

4 Oakland Raiders

Structure and discipline? With this team? Those are the watchwords for a new staff that's going back to basics

By Jim Trotter

1 New York GIANTS

The already formidable running game will carry an even greater load, and that includes backs catching more passes

By Adam Duerson

2 Dallas COWBOYS

You-know-who has left town, and now Big D looks to homegrown wideout Roy Williams to make some noise

By Andrew Lawrence

3 Philadelphia EAGLES

The defense took some big hits, but a high-scoring offense that got younger and better can crank it up one more notch

By Andrew Perloff

4 Washington REDSKINS

An already stout defense got a whole lot better in the off-season—but is that where the help was needed most?

By Adam Duerson

1 Chicago BEARS

A cannon-armed new quarterback has raised the stakes, and now it's up to the wide receivers to raise their game

By Lee Jenkins

2 Minnesota VIKINGS

Brett Favre adds a new dimension to the offense—it's called a passing game—and juices the postseason prospects

By Lee Jenkins

3 Green Bay PACKERS

If the No. 1 back regains his form and the reconfigured defense comes together, the Pack will have a playoff shot

By Lee Jenkins

4 Detroit LIONS

New season, new coach, new players, new outlook. Time to turn the page on the past and start fresh

By Peter King

1 Atlanta FALCONS

Youth is served in the remaking of the defense, but a knowledgeable veteran will be central to its success

By Andrew Lawrence

2 Carolina PANTHERS

After earning the top seed last season, they sank to the depths in the playoffs. Now depth is their biggest concern

By Damon Hack

3 New Orleans SAINTS

Don't expect much? Fine—this bunch is glad to sneak up on teams with their dynamic offense and a rejuvenated D

By Damon Hack


A new coach schooled in Tampa's defensive tradition will try to restore some of that swashbuckling swagger

By Damon Hack

1 Seattle SEAHAWKS

Given a fresh start thanks to a coaching change, Julius Jones plans to energize an offense that counts heavily on the run

By Jim Trotter


They're rethinking the defense—fewer risks, more consistency—so that the offense doesn't have to do it all

By Jim Trotter

3 San Francisco 49ERS

The franchise once led by Joe Montana and Steve Young needs one of its two unspectacular passers to take charge

By George Dohrmann

4 St. Louis RAMS

Attempting a ground-up renovation, a rookie coach hopes his cornerstone will be a raw and respectful rookie tackle

By Peter King

Point After

Trust Us: We're Wrong

By Phil Taylor


Peter the Great

By Terry McDonell



Well, Is She Or Isn't She?

Sex testing an athlete isn't nearly as simple as it sounds

By David Epstein

Who's Hot Who's Not

World Class

A slugging California crew continues the U.S.'s dominance in Williamsport

For the Record

Talking a Good Game

After a disastrous stint with the Lions, Matt Millen returns to the broadcast booth, site of his best work

By Richard Deitsch

Young Men and the Sea

Solo circumnavigators keep getting younger


What smart fans should do this week

Jason Bateman

The Dodgers fan stars in Extract, in theaters on Friday

As told to Sarah Kwak

Just My Type

By Dan Patrick

Faces in the Crowd

What Handicap?

A teen athlete keeps beating the odds

By Elizabeth McGarr

The Vault