SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
Starting with A Bang
Thanks to a few tweaks to the system, a Ryder Cup subplot and an exciting A-list finish—Vijay Singh over Sergio García in overtime—the Barclays got the second edition of the playoffs off on the right foot
Unconventional Wisdom
With the Democratic and Republican conventions in the news, here's our vision of a golf world governed by the political parties' respective platforms.
Gene Upshaw: 1945—2008
The Hall of Fame guard's sudden death from pancreatic cancer stunned friends and adversaries and left a huge void at the NFL Players Association, which he led for 25 years
To Serve And Protect
While teammates enjoy the limelight, Dallas's offensive line faces the toughest job in town: keeping hands off the star-powered quarterback
Gonna Fly Now
The Eagles' starting linebackers are short on experience—only 34 combined starts—but long on talent and smarts
Justin Time
Losses on the Giants' defensive line mean heavy duty for Justin Tuck in his first season as a full-time starter
The Jackson One
The Vikings start seven Pro Bowl players, but it's unproven QB Tarvaris Jackson who holds the key to the postseason
Reappearing Act
The injury-plagued Deuce McAllister and the hot-and-cold Reggie Bush owe the Saints a full season of strong running
Catching Heat
The Jaguars are primed for a deep playoff run, but they need a motley crew of unproven or underachieving wide receivers to stand and deliver on their promise
Guard Duty
Pittsburgh's linemen must police the area around their passer better for the Steelers to make a serious playoff push
Priority: Secondary
The blame for New England's Super Bowl collapse fell heavily on the defensive backs. The result: a major rebuild
Rx for the Rush
The stats were great, but injuries sank Indy's defensive line late in '07, making health and depth twin concerns this year
2 New York Jets
Brett Favre is the most notable of several newcomers, but the one to keep an eye on is linebacker Calvin Pace
3 Buffalo BILLS
They shored up the defense through free agency, but where were the improvements on the other side of the ball?
2 Cleveland BROWNS
What's all the fuss about? A franchise on the rise has playoff potential, but a rebuilt defensive front has to deliver first
3 Baltimore Ravens
A beleaguered offense turns to young players for salvation, picking up the tempo and looking the defense in the eye
2 Jacksonville JAGUARS
Emboldened by a strong finish and a more aggressive attack, the division's eternal also-rans are eager to assert themselves
2 Denver BRONCOS
Yet another new coordinator tries to fix a defense that is vulnerable to the run—in a division full of elite backs
4 Oakland RAIDERS
With JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden, the offense of the future takes shape. But the future is not now
2 Dallas COWBOYS
Adam Jones is the latest recovery project, and (mentored by TO and Tank!) a talent who could put Big D over the top
3 New York GIANTS
During the title run, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka was left watching—and burning for a chance to get back. It's here
1 Minnesota VIKINGS
An upgraded roster means less pressure on the young QB. An improved attitude means they're serious about a playoff run
3 Detroit LIONS
One of the league's worst secondaries has been rebuilt in the image of one of the best. Welcome to Tampa Bay North
4 Chicago BEARS
They may espouse a run-first philosophy, but when Sunday comes, it will fall to the wideouts to provide the spark
3 New Orleans SAINTS
They were a playoff-caliber team last season—for the last 12 games, that is. This year's goal: Go all-out for a full 16
1 Seattle SEAHAWKS
A ground game that ran out of gas last year is overhauled from the top down. New plan, new backs—old dominance?
2 Arizona Cardinals
Amazing but true: There are almost no changes in the Valley of the Sun—except, the team hopes, in the standings
4 St. Louis RAMS
They'll need almost everything to go right'starting with all key parts in working order'for even .500 to be thinkable
Sweet Redemption
By embracing a collegiate approach and putting the team first, the U.S. made up for eight years of frustration—and reclaimed gold
What a Finish
Usain Bolt stole the show (again) when he broke a record once thought untouchable, and after repeated disappointments, the U.S. had a run of its own
Hope Regained
Against the very opponent her former coach thought she couldn't handle, goalkeeper Hope Solo led the underdog U.S. women to gold
The Final Out?
The U.S. juggernaut—and the sport—made a stunning exit, but the silver lining may be that both step back up to the plate in 2016
Golden Spikers
After the queens of the sport extended their reign, the U.S. men became sultans of the sand
Staying Power
Theo Epstein's reign in Boston is built to last, but several of his fellow executives face a less certain future
Tough Breaks
USC and UCLA lost their top quarterbacks to injury, but as so often happens, the Bruins were hit harder
Rising Son
Wide receiver Duron Carter will attend Ohio State like his father, Cris—but his first priority is to win another state title
Counter Plays
Ricky Williams leads a list of high-risk (and sometimes quirky) picks that will make your draft bold and beautiful
Point After