Denver is better, as its 15.7 point average victory margin shows, because coach Mike Shanahan told the Super Bowl champs they would have to work harder this year to repeat. So 36 players—up from eight in 1997—made all 40 spring workouts. Plus, Shanahan doesn't expect backups to play like backups. So Bubby Brister turns into John Elway for three games. Almost forgot: Terrell Davis (above) is on pace to have the best rushing season of all time.
It's been a long time since Minnesota's defensive front seven could line up and stop people dead. Maybe John Randle (above) & Co. aren't the Purple People Eaters, but they're among the league's best. True, the Vikes don't have anyone to match T.D. But when you consider the speed and size Randy Moss adds to a receiving corps that already included the sticky fingers of Cris Carter and Jake Reed, you realize that ol' Red McCombs bought in at just the right time.—J.M.