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September 05, 2005 | Volume 103, Issue 9

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Jake Delhomme Cover - Sports Illustrated September 05, 2005

September 05, 2005 | Chris Ballard
It's business as usual for Peyton Manning and the high-scoring offense, but for this team to get past the Patriots, the defense has to raise its game

September 05, 2005 | Chris Ballard
A new coordinator takes the chains off the offense, installing a quick-strike attack that emphasizes long passes and putting a lot of points on the board

September 05, 2005 | Chris Ballard
Having ably played the role of expansion-team celebrity, it's time for David Carr to fulfill his promise on the field by getting into the playoffs

September 05, 2005 | Chris Ballard
After 32 years and great success in the college game, new offensive coordinator Norm Chow is daring to make a difference in the NFL

September 05, 2005 | Jeffri Chadiha
A new arrival, elite corner Patrick Surtain, gives the revamped defense an identity--and the team the jolt it needs to finally get to the Super Bowl

September 05, 2005 | Jeffri Chadiha
Rejuvenated linebacker Steve Foley and the defending division champions are bent on proving that their startling 2004 was no fluke

September 05, 2005 | Jeff Chadiha
In a city where expectations run mile-high, the pressure is mounting on passer Jake Plummer to lead his team deep into the postseason

September 05, 2005 | Jeffri Chadiha
All eyes are on Randy Moss, but success could hinge on whether another new player, former Jet LaMont Jordan, can revive the ground game

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
A lesser team would wilt from the heat and tension of this summer soap opera, but Andy Reid will get his fractious bunch back to the playoffs

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
Bill Parcells hopes to re-create some of his old magic with a return to his preferred defensive scheme and the addition of some hungry players

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
They'll go as far as their franchise quarterback takes them--just don't expect Eli Manning to play like his famous brother. At least, not yet

September 05, 2005 | Bill Syken
The ball is still in Patrick Ramsey's hands, but there are two other options at quarterback if the offense sputters as it did a year ago

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
The defense has been fortified and a major distraction is gone, but Mike Tice & Co. still have to prove they can finish what they start

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
The front office underwent a shake-up, but the defense--which was in dire need of one, too--will have to get better with the same players

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
Whether he'll admit it or not, Joey Harrington is entering a make-or-break season for a team that needs his arm to make the jump to the playoffs

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
All-Pro wideout Muhsin Muhammad is a major addition to an offense that was the league's worst in '04, but who's going to get him the ball?

September 05, 2005 | Bill Syken
Defensive end extraordinaire Julius Peppers and the return to health of a handful of stars make this club the team to beat in the NFC

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
If young deep threats Michael Jenkins and Roddy White get open and make plays, they will add another dimension to Michael Vick's game

September 05, 2005 | Bill Syken
Coach Jim Haslett is getting back to the basics with the emphasis on a ground game bolstered by two new faces on the right side of the line

September 05, 2005 | Bill Syken
A rejuvenated Brian Griese and a new Cadillac will drive the offense, but the lanes may be clogged because of a suspect offensive line

September 05, 2005 | Chris Ballard
With bruising back Steven Jackson and other talented young starters getting comfortable in the offense, Mike Martz's team has its swagger back

September 05, 2005 | Jeffri Chadiha
The quick development of a young secondary, including converted safety Michael Boulware, will be key to a defensive turnaround

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
There's reason for optimism in the desert, starting with veteran passer Kurt Warner and an explosive set of young wideouts

September 05, 2005 | Jeffri Chadiha
This up-and-down franchise is counting on its new-look defense to lay the groundwork for a return to respectability. It may take a while

September 05, 2005
PLAYER VALUE RANKING

September 05, 2005 | Rick Reilly
The cruelest joke in sports history has to be the one that fate played on a skinny sunbeam named Joe Kay.

September 05, 2005
School Days

September 05, 2005
LETTERS

September 05, 2005 | Steve Rushin
Happily, there are still two places on earth where cellphones must be surrendered at the door: prison and PGA Tour events.

September 05, 2005 | Austin Murphy
A French paper has joined the chorus of critics who say Lance Armstrong cheated his way to those Tour de France titles. Expect the Texan to weather the storm

September 05, 2005
WHO'S HOT

September 05, 2005
Resigned

September 05, 2005
2

September 05, 2005
After a horrific year, James Blake bounces back in New Haven

September 05, 2005
When Felix Escalona stroked a single to give the Yankees a 5--4 win over the Blue Jays last week, many fans were asking themselves, "Who is that guy?" Good question. Escalona is so anonymous that...

September 05, 2005 | Robert Deitsch
The fifth season of the comedian and Dodgers fan's sitcom, George Lopez, starts on Sept. 28 on ABC

September 05, 2005 | Adam Duerson
It was a busy week for Cincinnati native Nick Lachey. He wrote an angry column in The Cincinnati Enquirer protesting the firing of basketball coach Bob Huggins. (Sample musing: "The bottom line...

September 05, 2005 | Adam Duerson
No wonder the U.S.-Mexico border is so difficult to guard: It's 2,000 miles long, and people are willing to get shot across it. Last Saturday, David (the Human Cannonball) Smith was launched from...

September 05, 2005 | Adam Duerson
A New York City gallery is displaying a work the artist says is Ted Williams's death mask.

September 05, 2005 | Adam Duerson
Dodgers outfielder, on his legacy: "I want people to say Milton Bradley was a pretty good ballplayer and a pretty good person. Anybody who is going to stand between me getting there, then they...

September 05, 2005 | Amanda Cherrin
What to watch and watch for

September 05, 2005
Breaking news, scores, schedules and fresh, original Web-only stories and columns 24/7

September 05, 2005
Shauna McCullough

September 05, 2005
The Week In Sports

September 05, 2005 | Tom Verducci
Twelve (contenders) doesn't go into five (postseason spots up for grabs), so which teams will make the cut?

September 05, 2005 | Tom Verducci
DODGERS BLUE

September 05, 2005 | Albert Chen
The walk-off win by Ewa Beach, Hawaii, over Curaçao immediately joins the four triumphs below on the list of the most memorable Little League World Series championship games. --Albert Chen

September 05, 2005 | Michael Bamberger
A walk-off homer capped hustling Hawaii's comeback win over Curaçao in the Little League World Series

September 05, 2005 | Kelli Anderson
The sharpshooting of newcomer Nicole Powell could decide whether Sacramento finally makes the finals

September 05, 2005 | Kelli Anderson
Detroit versus Connecticut

September 05, 2005 | Stewart Mandel
After sitting behind David Greene for four years, quarterback D.J. Shockley finally gets the chance to lead Georgia

September 05, 2005 | Stewart Mandel
<Auburn CB David Irons vs. Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson>

September 05, 2005
Their bibles are team-issued binders crammed with hundreds of meticulously designed plays. Their mission is to change their teams' fortunes in the blink of an eye. They stretch to the first-down...

September 05, 2005 | PETER KING
So you think playbooks are just diagrams with lines going this way and that? You'll be amazed at what coaches stuff in them and how much the poor player has to learn

September 05, 2005 | Peter King
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel doesn't waste any time, installing one of his favorites, PFB Double Square Out, on Day One

September 05, 2005
They're bold and brash, and with the trend toward multireceiver sets, there are more of them than ever--and they all want the ball. When the pass arrives, be it on a slant or a deep post,...

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
He is the NFL's accidental All-Pro, a 27-year-old class clown with gaudy jewelry and detachable gold teeth, someone whose rise to the top of his sport required more serendipity than Tom Arnold's...

September 05, 2005
They are the new wave of defensive stars, delivering bone-jarring hits in run support and patrolling the middle of the field in coverage. And when they get their hands on the ball, watch out!

September 05, 2005 | JEFFRI CHADIHA
Outside a movie theater in La Place, La., a middle-aged white woman was ranting at a police officer, inching closer and closer as if bent on getting arrested. Jeanne Hall rarely exploded in rage,...

September 05, 2005
• For daily Web-only galleries, go to SI.com/photos.

September 05, 2005 | Paul Zimmerman
Never mind that both coordinators and a pair of starting linebackers had to be replaced. Nothing seems to rattle the two-time defending champs

September 05, 2005 | Paul Zimmerman
Chad Pennington's tender shoulder ... a big hole at nosetackle.... Such pivotal issues will decide whether this club goes far in the postseason

September 05, 2005 | Paul Zimmerman
After finishing strong in '04, a team with savvy veterans puts its fate in the hands of a 24-year-old quarterback who has thrown five NFL passes

September 05, 2005 | Paul Zimmerman
Trying to jump-start the run game, Nick Saban hired a respected line coach, welcomed back a familiar face and added a versatile rookie

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
Everybody is terrified of their defense, but can Kyle Boller strike fear into opposing secondaries? He finally has the receiving weapons to do it

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
After his sensational rookie season, what can Ben Roethlisberger possibly do for an encore? Well, there is one thing ... get to the Super Bowl

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
Marvin Lewis is rebuilding his porous defense on the same foundation that brought him success elsewhere: bruising linebackers

September 05, 2005 | Michael Silver
Still trying to get its act together, the six-year-old franchise looks for leadership from a rookie coach and a veteran quarterback with Super Bowl savvy

September 05, 2005
NFL PREVIEW

September 05, 2005 | John Schulian
That's what being black in the first half of the 20th century meant for Oscar Charleston, the greatest baseball player you've never heard of

September 05, 2005
Dr. Z's Power Rankings