Why this game is intriguing: Even before Colin Kaepernick threw the Bay Area into flux by performing so well that coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to consider him a possible starter, this one caught our eye. Even before a concussion threatened to turn Alex Smith into Alex Pipp, this was high on our radar. And then Kaepernick went 16-of-23 for 243 yards with two touchdowns against the vaunted Chicago Bears defense, adding serious intrigue to what was already one of the NFL's best-stocked teams. As if the Niners needed a dynamic, play-making quarterback to go with their stout run game and tough-as-nails defense. The simple question of who starts under center for San Francisco makes this a must-see. Oh, and did we mention that the Saints are playing as well as anyone right now? That they have long since drop-kicked that 0-4 start to win five of their last six, nosing themselves into the playoff hunt and flashing the possibility of a stunning turnaround? Never mind that this is also a rematch of last year's roller coaster of a divisional-round playoff game -- that storyline barely merits a mention, because the others are so enticing.
Ranking NFL's top five lockdown corners; plus, what Odell Beckham Jr.'s return means for Browns
In this edition of the Scout's Notebook, Bucky Brooks explores the contract dispute between Xavien Howard and the Dolphins. Plus, ranking the NFL's top five lockdown corners, what Odell Beckham Jr.'s return from injury could do for the Browns and why Tua Tagovailoa's rough practice isn't a big deal.