MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Yes, Brock Osweiler has a contract befitting a franchise player, but he joined the Houston Texans this year with only seven career starts.

Sam Bradford was once the first overall pick in the draft, but if the Minnesota Vikings finish with a winning record this season this will be the first time he's experienced that in his professional career.

Quality quarterback performance has never been more important in the present-day NFL, but what has also become clear is that success is possible without one of the league's established elite taking the snaps.

Dominant defense, with reigning Super Bowl champion Denver as the prime exhibit, is a must have.

That's primarily why the Texans (3-1) and Vikings (4-0) are winning, and they're not alone.