Division battles are heating up, and the 2014 NFL season is nearing its halfway point. Here's a preview of this week's most interesting storylines:

Sunday, Oct. 12

Peyton Manning Returns To Site Of Super Bowl Disaster

Denver at N.Y. Jets | MetLife Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Peyton Manning
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In its last seven games, Denver (3-1) has only lost to Seattle (twice). One of those defeats came in February's Super Bowl, which took place at MetLife Stadium — site of the Broncos-Jets game this Sunday. Denver's Peyton Manning has been his spectacular, regular season self, ranking fourth in QB rating and second in yards per game in 2014. It will be interesting to see if he suffers any post-traumatic stress disorder this week (watch that first snap, Peyton).

Despite solid defensive personnel, New York (1-4) hasn't beaten anyone but the Raiders this year (and that almost doesn't count). Another loss or two in a row and Rex Ryan's feet might be walking right out the door.

The Bills — Yes, The Bills — Can Take Command Of The AFC East

New England at Buffalo | Ralph Wilson Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Kyle Orton
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With a win this week against the rival Patriots, Buffalo (3-2) can take sole possession of the AFC East lead. The Bills have found respectability via a stalwart rushing defense, which ranks second only to Seattle in the entire NFL. A week removed from chemistry concerns,

New England (3-2) will likely turn Tom Brady loose to try to stay on its decade-plus run as the best team in the division. A Buffalo loss might send QB Kyle Orton over nearby Niagara Falls in a barrel.

The Browns-Steelers Rivalry Is Interesting Again

Pittsburgh at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Brian Hoyer
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Back in the 1970s and '80s, the Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry was among the fiercest in the NFL. While the cities still exhibit plenty of hate for each other, the Browns and the Steelers haven't had that many interesting battles lately. The winner of this week's contest will push their rival into the basement of the competitive AFC North.

Cleveland (2-2) nearly rallied past Pittsburgh (3-2) in Week 1, losing 30-27. Now that Brian Hoyer has established himself as the team's best QB — and the Steelers have shown themselves to be wildly inconsistent — the Browns could find themselves poised for a big win (or they could start to stink — again).

Could The Cowboys Be The Team To Beat In The NFC?

Dallas at Seattle | CenturyLink Field; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox

DeMarco Murray
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The Cowboys were not supposed to be very good, much less vying for the best record in the NFC. Well, Dallas (4-1) can establish itself as an early Super Bowl contender by beating Seattle (4-1) at raucous CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon.

You already know that the Seahawks' Legion of Boom secondary is the most talented in the NFL, but did you know Seattle has the best rushing defense? They do, and it will try to stop Cowboys' RB DeMarco Murray, the NFL's current leading rusher by more than 200 yards. This game could dictate whether Dallas is headed to the playoffs, OR it's ready to make the annual slide to an 8-8 record.

The Eagles Will Try To Blackout The Giants

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia | Lincoln Financial Field; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC

Getty Images
Getty Images

Philadelphia (4-1) has one of the NFL's best records, but it sure doesn't feel that way for Eagles fans who have watched their team play very well for only a half in each of their games this season. Philly plays its first outdoor night game this season on Sunday against the hated Giants (3-2). The Eagles will wear black jerseys and pants in a nod to the nighttime game (and perhaps as a way to fool interception-prone New York quarterback Eli Manning into thinking they aren't there).

Philadelphia QB Nick Foles has certainly been slightly colorblind this year; he's thrown five interceptions after tossing just two picks all of last season.

Other Games

Thursday, Oct. 9
Indianapolis at Houston | NRG Stadium; 8:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS/NFL Network

Sunday, Oct. 12
Jacksonville at Tennessee | LP Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Baltimore at Tampa Bay | Raymond James Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Detroit at Minnesota | TCF Bank Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Carolina at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Green Bay at Miami | Sun Life Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
San Diego at Oakland | O.co Coliseum; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Chicago at Atlanta | Georgia Dome; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Washington at Arizona | U of Phoenix Stadium; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Monday, Oct. 13
San Francisco at St. Louis | Edward Jones Dome; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

Bye: Kansas City, New Orleans