THE GAME WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT ON MONDAY: Patriots-Jets. Do you really think it was a coincidence the Patriots released Albert Haynesworth the week of this game? Coming off two losses, no less? For all we talk about the Jets making this an "all-in" game, New England is doing the same thing. But New York will win this game for one big reason: Wes Welker vacationing on Revis Island. After torching the Jets in the first half of the Pats' Week 5 win, Welker caught a 73-yard pass on the first play of the second half, which the Pats rode to a game-changing 10-point lead. Lost in that drama, however, was the fact that Revis was on Welker almost exclusively the rest of the game in the slot. Welker caught one pass for four yards against that matchup. It will be tougher sledding for New England this time around, as the Jets made Fred Jackson a non-factor last week. The swagger is back in New York. The Pats are in the same spot the Jets were a few weeks ago with a two-game losing streak instilling doubt as they head into a game against their most bitter arch-rival. What a difference a month makes.
THE GAME IN WHICH THE WINNER BECOMES THE SECOND-BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT: Giants-49ers. I'm firmly in the "not like it" category. The Packers have proven they're still the best. But the winner of this game will be either 8-1 (Niners) or 7-2 (Giants) and will have just beaten an allegedly good opponent. I feel like I should put an asterisk on this entire section. I said last week I'm not a 49ers believer because I'm not convinced they can come from behind and win big games when it's on Alex Smith's shoulders, as opposed to Frank Gore's. I can say the same thing about the Giants. It's too easy to run on their defense, and they seem to ride a roller coaster every week regardless of the opponent. They're both flawed teams and will be exposed in the playoffs, however, we'll be celebrating the 49ers after this week. For the Giants, a 3,000 mile trip following an emotional win is hard enough. Throw in an opponent in the Niners that has allowed no rushing TDs or a 100-yard runner all season long? That's too much of a mountain to climb for the G-men.
THE UPSET THAT WON'T REALLY BE AN UPSET: Steelers-Bengals. Pittsburgh is wounded and angry coming off its defeat at the hands of the hated Ravens. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say the Steelers put the Bengals in their place. That's not going to happen, not with Cincinnati wielding one of the top five defenses in the NFL. It's really fun watching Cincinnati play on that side of the ball. The Bengals run so many guys in and out you'd think they have a college football-sized roster of 100 players. Forget about running on them, and throwing the ball will be difficult, as well. Ben Roethlisberger has been horrendous against Cincinnati the past three years, and now the Bengals are actually good! The Bengals also won't shrink if they fall behind, as they've made comeback wins their specialty this season. Andy Dalton is on pace for nearly 3,500 yards passing and 24 TDs. If not for Cam Newton, we'd be talking more about Dalton -- and let's face it, making "Roadhouse" references are more fun than saying "Cam Can!" over and over.
BEST FINAL 2:00: Bills-Cowboys. The Bills had it handed to them by the Jets in Week 9, and Ryan Fitzpatrick needs a big day to prove he's worth that huge contract extension (First thing he need to do to stop the slide? Shave the beard. I know it has a cult following of its own and probably has its own Twitter page. But is it just me, or do all quarterbacks with beards come across as being old, slow and out of shape? No faster way to get younger than to shave a beard. There's only one Dan Fouts.) Anyway, this is one of those 're-focus' games for a Bills team that has lit it up offensively most of the season. So the Bills' O will bounce back. The Cowboys are starting to find their identity, however, and it's more DeMarco Murray and less Tony Romo. The Cowboys will be able to establish the run, play with a lead and hold off the Bills' last gasp drive to improve to 5-4.
BIGGEST SHOOTOUT: Saints-Falcons. This is a game that should begin with the score already at 21-21. Stakes are incredibly high for both teams. The Falcons need the W to stay in the race. They've been sneaky-good even though Roddy White has been invisible. The Saints, on the other hand, want to avoid going on the road in the playoffs. Falling another game behind both Green Bay and San Francisco could mean playing a divisional playoff game in the frigid cold or against powerful winds. I've seen Drew Brees play too many of these "have the ball last" games and come out on top in the end to pick against the Saints. But be ready for a game with 70 points in it.
BONUS! THE GAME WITH THE ONE-LINER OF THE WEEK: Rams-Browns. In the makeup chairs getting ready for "NFL Fantasy Live" this week, Michael Fabiano and I were debating the merits of the Browns' pass defense, which has been incredible this season. Ranked first overall against the pass, and no one has big days against them -- the latest victim being Matt Schaub last week. Joe Haden needs to be talked about like Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha. So while we're musing on this topic, make-up artist Denise, without missing a beat, interrupts us and said totally serious, "Do we really need this conversation? I mean, it's the Browns." And scene.
See Jason Smith on "NFL Fantasy Live," airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the NFL RedZone channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes Fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.