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Sunday playbook: Divisional battles slow to emerge, many lie ahead

It’s nothing like Week 17 when all 16 games on the schedule will be division clashes, but the NFL gets deeper into the interdivisional play today and Monday night with four neighborhood battles on the schedule.

Miami at New England and Green Bay at Minnesota are the most attractive of the four. The New York Giants at Philadelphia and Seattle at St. Louis on Monday night are the others.

So far, only 33 of 192 divisional games on the schedule have been played so a lot of the most meaningful competition lies ahead including:

Denver versus Kansas City in the AFC West (Nov. 17 and Dec. 1), Cincinnati versus Baltimore in the AFC North (Nov. 10 and Dec. 29), Seattle at San Francisco in the NFC West (Dec. 15).

A thumbnail look at the Week Eight games:

Game of the day

Redskins (2-4) at Broncos (6-1)

TV: Ch. 29, 4:25 p.m.

The line: Broncos (-12).

The scoop: Mike Shanahan returns to Denver as opposing coach for first time since leaving Broncos. He was 3-1 versus Denver as coach of Raiders in 1988-89. ... Despite Sunday night loss, Broncos QB Peyton Manning still putting up amazing numbers to lead league in passing yards (2,565), TD passes (25) and passer rating (123.3). Denver’s Knowshon Moreno and Wes Welker among those tied for league lead with 8 TDs. ... Redskins rookie TE Jordan Reed (Florida) had nine receptions for 134 yards and TD against Bears last week.

Outlook: Redskins celebrate London Fletcher’s 247th consecutive game by giving Broncos big trouble. Denver, 35-31.

Top attractions

Jets (4-3) at Bengals (5-2)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Bengals (-6)

The scoop: Jets have won eight of last nine against Bengals and are 3-0 under Rex Ryan. ... New York is fourth in the NFL in team defense (302.6) with DE Muhammad Wilkerson, LB David Harris and DBs Antonio Allen and Antonio Cromartie leading the way. ... Cincy has won last five at home.

Outlook: Media experts have been too quick to bury the Jets. No-name backs lead Gang Green upset, 17-13.

Cowboys (4-3) at Lions (4-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Lions (-3).

The scoop: Dallas QB Tony Romo has played well versus Detroit throughout his career. He is looking for his fourth win in a row against Lions. ... QB Matthew Stafford of Lions leads NFC with 2,129 passing yards, 15 touchdowns with 15-4 TD-INT ratio. ... DT Jason Hatcher (Grambling State) is new Dallas sack leader with six.

Outlook: Dallas shut down Eagles offense last week, but doing that to Stafford and Co. in Ford Field is another matter. Cowboys win passing duel, 35-28.

Browns (3-4) at Chiefs (7-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: Chiefs (-7½).

The scoop: Perhaps most amazing stat is not the effectiveness of KC defense in Red Zone (66.7 percent), it’s that opponents have had only nine possessions inside 20. Also, Chiefs are allowing league-best 25.3 third-down conversions.

Outlook: Not a true believer in Chiefs, who have faced opponents with combined 15-26 record versus rest of league. Still can’t see Browns testing KC defense at Arrowhead, but QB switch to Jason Campbell may help. Chiefs, 20-10.

Dolphins (3-3) at Patriots (4-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m .

The line: Patriots (-6½).

The scoop: Each side lost a division game last week. Believe it or not, a win today would put Miami in tie with New England for division lead if Jets lose at Cincy. ... Dolphins were shut out in Foxborough in last visit in 2012 finale. ... Two of Miami’s wins have come on road this season. Last Fish win at Gillette was in 2008 against Matt Cassel.

Outlook: Believe Dolphins will be able to run on Patriots and limit Tom Brady’s opportunities. Patriots,, 24-20.

Giants (1-6) at Eagles (3-4)

TV: Ch. 29, 1 p.m.

The line: Eagles (-5½).

The scoop: Eagles coming off hugely disappointing offensive performance in 17-3 home loss to Cowboys, whose defense can’t be confused with ‘85 Bears. ... Giants finally broke through with win over woeful Vikings on Monday night. Hard to believe that Giants (once the home of LT, Strahan, Umenyiora) have only six sacks, last in the league. ... Michael Vick (hamstring) expected back at QB for Eagles.

Outlook: Philly won first meeting, 38-21, just three weeks ago at MetLife. Eagles, 20-17.

Best of the rest

Bills (3-4) at Saints (5-1)

TV: Ch. 4, 1 p.m.

The line: Saints (-11).

The scoop: Bills’ first visit to Crescent City since ‘98. They will need a top defensive effort against New Orleans passing game, and QB Thad Lewis will be looking at Rob Ryan’s pressure defense. ... Buffalo is 0-4 and never has scored more than 17 points (average of 10) against a Rob Ryan defense at Oakland, Cleveland and Dallas.

Outlook: Not much chance of an upset but Bills truly believe in themselves. Saints, 30-21.

Steelers (2-4) at Raiders (2-4)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.

The line: Steelers (-2½).

The scoop: Brings back memories of 1970s battles between these rivals. Oakland has won three of last four against Pittsburgh and leads all-time series, 11-9. ... La Marr Woodley has five of Steelers’ meager total of eight sacks (second lowest in league) so far. His 57 career sacks is fifth most for Steelers since stat became official in 1982. ... Raiders coming off 24-7 loss at Chiefs and last week’s bye. ... QB Terrelle Pryor leads Oakland in rushing with 285 yards and 6.5 average.

Outlook: Pryor looking to go 3-0 as starter at home. Oakland, 24-20.

Falcons (2-4) at Cardinals (3-4)

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.

The line: Cardinals (-2½).

The scoop: Arizona QB Carson Palmer has played well versus Atlanta, but his TD-INT ratio is only 8-13 this season. ... Matt Ryan of Falcons has impressive 13-3 ratio with 105.9 rating. Atlanta lost on FG in overtime in last visit to Arizona (2007).

Outlook: Even without Julio Jones, Ryan to have another good day in the desert. Atlanta, 27-20.

Packers (4-2) at Vikings (1-5)

TV: Ch. 2, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Packers (-9).

The scoop: Cheeseheads hate the Vikes and their fans, especially since Brett Favre defection, but this rivalry has lost some luster. Packers have won five of last six, although Vikings clinched playoff spot and Adrian Peterson wrapped up rushing title with 37-34 win over Pack in 2012 regular season finale. ... Green Bay has held last three opponents to 39 points total after giving up 96 in first three.

Outlook: New Vikings QB Josh Freeman didn’t look ready in MNF loss at Giants so Christian Ponder is back as starter. Packers, 33-17.

Seahawks (6-1) at Rams (3-4)

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:30 p.m.

The line: Seahawks (-11½).

The scoop: This looked like a pivotal NFC West game before Rams lost QB Sam Bradford (knee) in loss at Carolina last week. Ex-Jet Kellen Clemens will start at QB for St. Louis. ... With Marshawn Lynch (second in NFL with 578 yards) leading the way, Seahawks are No. 2 in league in rushing yards.

Outlook: Rams will be competing against baseball Cards for attention tonight. No contest. Seattle, 35-17.

Dog of the day

49ers (5-2) vs. Jaguars (0-7) in London

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

The line: 49ers (-15).

The scoop: Niners played at Wembley just three years ago, defeating Broncos, 24-16. ... London will be Jaguars’ second home.

Outlook: Winless Jags getting a little better each week, but they can only hope they don’t get embarrassed by 49ers. San Francisco, 31-17.

Last week: 10-4 outright, 9-5 versus spread.

Season’s record: 55-45 outright; 47-49-4 versus spread.