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Senior NFL Columnist

Ten things that intrigue me from NFL Week 14

Saints QB Drew Brees vs. Panthers secondary: The Saints are coming off a horrible offensive showing last week in Seattle. Brees looked ordinary. But that doesn't happen often. How does he bounce back against a Carolina secondary that is playing better than expected?

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: I know they won't actually face each other, but any time their teams play it will be about them. Wilson is having a heck of a season, and Kaepernick has turned it around the past two weeks. Who has the better game?

49ers DE Justin Smith and OLB Aldon Smith vs. Seahawks T Russell Okung: Aldon Smith is starting to look like his old self after missing time in rehab, and Justin Smith is still one of the top down 3-4 ends. Okung missed time with injuries, but he's rounding into shape now. These battles could decide the game.

Dolphins WR Mike Wallace vs. his former team, the Steelers: Steelers didn't think enough of Wallace to bring him back, and Miami paid him a ton to sign as a free agent. He has really come on in recent weeks, and you know he would love to show up here. The Steelers will likely put Ike Taylor on him a lot, but Taylor has struggled some this season. Could Wallace show up his former team?

Denver receivers vs. Titans corners: Tennessee corners Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner have had good seasons in coverage. But the Denver receivers offer a big-time challenge. Demaryius Thomas is big, Wes Welker is quick and nifty and Eric Decker is a combination of the two.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Eagles corners: The Eagles secondary has improved in recent weeks, but Johnson is a huge challenge for any secondary. How do they play him? Doubles? Triples?

Rams DE Robert Quinn vs. Cardinals OT Bradley Sowell: Sowell has really struggled since taking over as the starter. But he has made some strides. I doubt he's made enough to be singled on Quinn. He will likely get a lot of help. Quinn has 13 sacks and might get a bunch here.

Eagles LG Evan Mathis vs. Lions DTs Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh: Mathis is having an All-Pro season and Fairley and Suh will present a big challenge. Mathis plays with an attitude, which you need against those two. Look for a lot of after-the-whistle stuff.

Giants QB Eli Manning playing in San Diego: We know the story of how he turned his nose at playing in San Diego. That adds to this game. But it's almost a playoff elimination game for both teams. Can Manning finally have that big game we've been expecting to see?

Are the Chiefs in a free fall? They've lost three consecutive games and head to Washington to play a bad Redskins team. What if KC loses this one? Then what? The Chiefs were undefeated at 9-0, and things looked so bright, but not anymore. They need a turnaround victory.

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