Tom Brady's Patriots have already beaten Peyton Manning's Broncos in one of this season's marquee matchups. And the Seattle Seahawks won their highly anticipated Super Bowl rematch against Denver. With many of the top 2014 nondivision games in the books, the best remaining games of the final eight weeks of the regular season involve divisional matchups, many of which will play a large role in determining which teams will advance to the postseason.
Here's a look at the top five matchups remaining in the 2014 season:
1. Philadelphia vs. Dallas -- Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, in Dallas; Dec. 14 in Philly: Injuries may ultimately determine the outcome of the NFC East race and whether the division's champ will earn a playoff bye. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles could miss both contests with a broken collarbone, and you have to wonder if Tony Romo (back) and DeMarco Murray (record-setting rushing attempts) can hold up physically until these games are played.
2. Arizona vs. Seattle -- Nov. 23 in Seattle; Dec. 21 in Arizona: What, no 49ers-Seahawks, arguably the best rivalry in the NFL? Well, San Francisco is three games behind the Cardinals and could be a nonfactor if it loses to New Orleans in Week 10. That leaves the powerful NFC West in the hands of the surprising Cardinals and the resurgent Seahawks.
3. Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati -- Dec. 7 in Cincinnati; Dec. 28 in Pittsburgh: With Baltimore going 1-3 in games against the Steelers and Bengals, these two teams hold a significant edge in the AFC North. Both have easy nondivisional schedules, with contests against the struggling NFC South and AFC South, and both should make the playoffs, one as a likely No. 3 seed and the other via a wild-card berth.
4. Denver at San Diego -- Dec. 14: The Broncos won the first meeting in Denver 35-21, so the Chargers' only hope of catching Denver is to win the Week 15 rematch at home. Of course, if the Chargers don't turn around their three-game losing streak, they might have to move aside and let the hard-charging Kansas City Chiefs make their Nov. 30 game against the Broncos mean something.
5. Detroit at Green Bay -- Dec. 28: The Lions' 19-7 victory over the Packers in Week 3 gives them a one-game lead in the NFC North, so this season finale in Lambeau is the Packers' ace in the hole if they are still trailing the Lions in Week 17. The Lions' next three games (Miami, Arizona and New England) could shift the division into the Packers' hands should Detroit slip up.