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ON THE COVER: Senior writer Mina Kimes gains rare access to the Green Bay Packers’ standout quarterback in “The Search for Aaron Rodgers,” in which he discusses fellow quarterback Colin Kaepernick, social issues and the cost of fame. This is a look inside the mind and spiritual journey of the Packers QB. (Link: http://es.pn/2vJChId)
DON’T MISS: In a collaboration with Outside the Lines, “Who Does This to People?” is an investigative report by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Simon Baumgart about the growing number of women left to take care of men whose brains have been addled from years of playing football. This is the story of their battle for redemption. (Link: http://es.pn/2wMXbu2)
Issue highlights and features:
Ron Rivera’s plan to protect Cam Newton and return Carolina to the Super Bowl is simple: have him run less and distribute the ball more. But will his QB buy in? With a little help from some game film, the Panthers coach reveals the evolutionary style change that just might save his quarterback—and his own job. By David Fleming (Link: http://es.pn/2wuprm7)
You Can’t Stop the Patriots … Unless You Do These 3 Things
The Patriots had hardly rested after their historic Super Bowl win before Bill Belichick was reloading. A speedy new receiver (Brandin Cooks), a new cornerback (Stephon Gilmore) and the re-signing of linebacker Dont’a Hightower help make the Pats a prohibitive favorite this year: a 32 percent chance to win the Super Bowl, according to FPI. The Mag offers four schemes that show why this team looks unstoppable and three ways contending teams might stop them. By Matt Bowen
Mr. Everything Unloads
In this exclusive, wide-ranging interview, Giants defensive star Landon Collins shows he’s not afraid to go on offense, unleashing his thoughts on why he should have won defensive player of the year over Khalil Mack, why playing for Nick Saban is harder than playing in the NFL, and why Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is his toughest opponent. By Matt Bowen (Link: http://es.pn/2wDRiNG)
NFL Team Previews
Previews and season projections for all 32 teams, including each team’s secret Achilles’ heel, according to league executives.
Additional issue highlights and features:
The Truth: Columnist Howard Bryant discusses how the NFL is a divided nation. With players more vocal than ever —some saying they’re ready to strike four years early — the league is in danger of being torn apart. The NFL, through its social rigidity, is creating something it’s never had to deal with before: a motivated player force.
Voices: The athlete name-drop in rap is a genre unto itself, but some rappers do it better than others. These are five of the best. By Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Boxing: Welcome to the Big Drama Show: Gennady Golovkin has spent almost a decade waiting for his shot at a big fight. Despite huge knockouts, championship belts and mass appeal, Golovkin has never been able to persuade a superstar fighter to take a chance — until now. His Sept. 16 bout against Canelo Alvarez is the fight that Golovkin — and the sport — has been waiting for. By Ramona Shelburne
CFB: When it comes to gauging a team’s home-field advantage, it’s not all about the W, or at least it shouldn’t be, according to Brad Edwards and Seth Walder, who re-examine the perks of playing at home through the lens of points above expectation.