1012_largeThe Denver Broncos are cruising so far, off to a surprising 4-0 start and showing signs of improvement every week.

But there’s a long-held myth that being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated causes a team or athlete to face a dramatic downturn shortly after publication. And guess who’s on SI’s latest cover? (Hat tip to Mile High Report.)

ProFootballTalk.com wonders if the editorial decision is a “kiss of death” for the Broncos, who seem to be getting a lot of national attention, including cornerback Champ Bailey.

Bailey was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Dallas Cowboys last weekend, according to the team blog. It’s the first time in Bailey’s six years with the Broncos that he’s received the award, although he was recognized as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week twice while he was with the Washington Redskins in 1999 and 2003.

Bailey will have a tough assignment this weekend covering Randy Moss of the New England Patriots. It’s a classic tale of student versus teacher, as Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels will take on his mentor and boss of the past eight years, Bill Belichick. Both downplay the match-up, calling it just another game on the schedule, though it’s clearly not.

Belichick tells The Boston Globe the game may be slightly different in that McDaniels knows a lot of New England’s personnel and, ostensibly, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Let’s hope that’s true. Sunday will be a tough game against perhaps the most consistently successful team of the last decade.