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NFL Playoff chase is heating up in NFC

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No one seems to be running away with anything in the NFC, outside of the top two seeds.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC is a different animal this season, after the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals set themselves atop the division, they now are fighting to even have a chance at the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the top two seeds in 2016 look nearly locked with Dallas and the Seattle Seahawks looking like they are the regular season class of the NFC.

1.Dallas Cowboys 8-1
2. Seattle Seahawks 6-2-1

While there are seven games left for each team, Dallas is three games clear of the nearest Wild Card and the Seahawks are two games clear of anyone else in the NFC. For Seattle, a 5-2 finish would mean every other contender would have to go at least 7-0. It is possible, not highly probable though.

The other two division leaders right now, rounding out the three and four seeds respectively:

3. Atlanta Falcons 6-4
4. Detroit Lions 5-4

The Falcons are two games clear of the rest of the NFC South after this weekend, while the Lions spent their bye week falling into first place in the division.

The leading NFC Wild Card teams as of this moment, before Monday Night Football is played:

5. New York Giants 6-3
6. Washington Redskins 5-3-1

The New York Giants after their Monday Night win get a shot to extend their lead against the Chicago Bears.

Meahwhile the Skins get a primetime matchup with the Green Bay Packers next weekend, so either the Packers fall further out of contention for a Wild Card, or the Skins drop pack to the four loss pack.

7. Philadelphia Eagles 5-4
8. Minnesota Vikings 5-4
9. Arizona Cardinals 4-4-1

What a fall for the Vikings, after a 5-0 start, they have found a way to lose four in a row and sit at the eight seed out of the playoffs. The loser of the Vikings and Cardinals matchup this coming Sunday may be out of the Wild Card after it, with so many teams piled together.

Philadelphia heads to Seattle this Sunday, so there could be a big fall for them this weekend.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-5
11. New Orleans Saints 4-5
12. Green Bay Packers 4-5
13. Los Angeles Rams 4-5

Tampa Bay travels to a white hot Kansas City team, they need to find a way to stick around in this fray, but on the road in KC may be a lot to ask the young Bucs. The Saints play Thursday Night, coming off their heart breaking loss to the Broncos, against their rival Carolina Panthers... in Carolina.

The Rams are still hanging around too and get a resurgent Miami Dolphins squad in LA this weekend.

It isn’t over for the Carolina Panthers, but at 3-6, they are three games out of the Wild Card right now, and have a mountain of teams to pass.

Meanwhile, start checking out 2017 NFL Draft prospects Chicago Bears (2-7) and San Francisco 49ers fans (1-8). By the way, can you imagine how the Vikings and Rams will feel if they finish a game out or lose on a tie breaker for the playoffs because they lost to one of these teams?

Enjoy the playoff race, it is just getting started.