SALT LAKE CITY -- The NFL is just approaching the halfway mark and some things are starting to clear up and some may be completely confusing by the end of the week. Last week Tebowmania overtook Miami and Green Bay remained undefeated. There was even a foot to the groin. This week there is one marquee matchup and a bunch of games that will clarify or confuse the playoff race, and the sweepstakes.
Here is what some of the storylines will be for Week 8 of the NFL season:
1. Second-place takes the spotlight: With the undefeated Green Bay Packers on a bye the race for the second best team in the league will be the story of the weekend. The big matchup is between the Patriots and the Steelers. There are a lot of predictions that this will be the preview of the ACF championship game. Right now they are one and two in the AFC, with the Patriots leading with only one loss. They could put two games between them and the next team in the conference with a win. The other team that could make a play for second place is the 49ers who are 5-1. They take on the Cleveland Browns and have a chance to get within one game of the Packers this weekend.
2. Will someone please win the NFC East? The NFC East has been one of the strongest divisions for years. Each team has had their shot over the past ten years to make the playoffs and consistently called contenders. This year the Giants are leading the division at 4-2 and they play the winless Dolphins. The Cowboys play the Eagles in a game where the loser is probably out of the division race. The Redskins play the Bills. This week could have every team within one game or the Giants could be up by two over the whole division.
3. More Tebow magic:The Broncos came from behind to beat the Dolphins in overtime. This week Tim Tebow will start at home against the slumping Lions. He will have to square off against one of the strongest defensive lines and the will probably need more than 18 to beat the Lions. The matchup of the week may be Ndamukong Suh and Tebow's will.
4. Division battles take shape or take confusion: There could be five divisions that have a tie for first place by the end of the week. The week could also end with every division leader having more than one game lead over the next team. Houston and San Diego can take control of their division with a win or fall into second with a loss. Pittsburgh could go from first to third with a loss. The playoff picture is muddled, but by the end of this week it could become clear, or get much worse.
5. Luck Sweepstakes: The Dolphins made sure to lose to ensure they are still in the running for Andrew Luck, and push Denver out of the running. The Colts were humiliated by the Saints and the Rams are also still floundering. Arizona is now a dark-horse contender in the Luck sweepstakes. They traded for Kevin Kolb in the offseason but with a game coming against Baltimore they will have a tough time getting their second win. The only other one win team is the Vikings. Jaguars ugly win over the Ravens may have taken them out of the contest as well.