If the playoffs were to begin right now, the NFC matchups would be the (3) Saints Vs. (6) Panthers, and (4) Rams vs. (6) Seahawks with the Eagles and Vikings having byes as the one and two seeds, respectively. All of these teams have tough remaining schedules.The league will see what teams are truly Super Bowl contenders, and which ones have a good record from a hot start or a weak schedule.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles look like the best team in the league right now. They have the best record in the NFL at 8-1 and have recently acquired young, Pro-Bowl running back Jay Ajayi.

They are coming off a bye and travelling to Dallas against a team that wants redemption after being humiliated by the Falcons. These two always play each other well and they have another meeting in week 17. In between those two meetings, the Eagles will have to travel to play the Seahawks and the Rams. The Seahawks are always a capable team, but have not been as dominant as previous years, especially with the loss of Richard Sherman. The Rams on the other hand, have been dominant and it should be exciting to watch the first and second overall pick from the 2016 draft face off against each other.

It will be interesting to see how the Eagles come off the bye this year. Last season, they had their bye after their 3-0 hot start.

It was after that when the Eagles started decline, eventually finishing the season at 7-9. Philadelphia is clearly a better team now than they were a year ago, and Carson Wentz is no longer a rookie, so it is not the same circumstances. Some would even argue that the bye is great timing, because of some injuries in the roster.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how they come off the bye.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have overcome many injuries to stand 7-2, holding the second place in the NFC. Case Keenum has clearly been the biggest surprise, rising to be the leader of the offense under center while Bridgewater has been hurt, and after Bradford got injured early in the season.

Last week's game against the Redskins may have been Keenum's best as he threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. The Vikings have a two-game lead over the Lions in the North and have tiebreakers over the Rams and Saints currently.

The Vikings next four games are tough, as they play the Rams, Lions, Falcons, and Panthers. They will be tested greatly, and we should be able to see just how good Case Keenum really is. After that tough stretch, the Vikings then have the Bengals, Packers, and Bears. So, worst case scenario, they should finish 10-6. But their character will be tested in the next four weeks.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints may look like the best team in the league right now. They have won seven straight after losing their first two games, and have been dominating teams while doing it.

Last week the Saints rushed for six touchdowns in Buffalo and beat the Bills by 37 points. What has changed is the run game. The Saints are not relying on Drew Brees as much, and their defense has gone from poor to very good. This may very well be the hottest team in football, and is certainly one of the most dangerous.

new orleans will play the Falcons twice, and the Panthers and Rams throughout the next seven games. Even though they have won seven in a row, they only have a one game lead on the Panthers and a two-game lead on the Falcons. The intra-divisional games should be very hard fought. As dominant as the Saints have been, the Rams boast the best point differential in the league. The Saints are a very talented team, but it will be interesting to see how they do in their remaining games.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have made serious progress from last season, and sit in first place of the West. A division that has been dominated by the Seahawks over the past couple of years. Jared Goff has proven why the Rams took him first overall in 2016, and Todd Gurley has bounced back after a sophomore slump. No team has been more dominant ten weeks in. With Richard Sherman now out for the season with an Achilles injury, things are looking favorably for the Rams. However, they face many more tests in the season. Specifically, games against the Vikings, Saints, Eagles, and Seahawks who they've already lost to once this year. It will not be an easy road to the playoffs, but the Rams should see themselves in the postseason come January.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have one of their worst teams in recent years, but are still 6-3 if that is a testament to just how good they are. Losing Richard Sherman is a huge loss, but Seattle still has a very good defense. Their schedule is not kind to them either as they play the Falcons, Eagles, Jaguars, Rams, and a Cowboys team that will have Ezekiel Elliot back. The Seahawks are a losing skid away from not making the playoffs, and that is a definite possibility. Russell Wilson is going to need to play very well, and the run game needs to find itself if the Seahawks do not want to worry about sitting at home after the regular season.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are sitting in the last wild-card spot in a very competitive NFC.

Cam Newton has been inconsistent as the Panthers have looked good at times, and quite suspect in others. Their remaining schedule has some weaker teams in it, like the Jets, Packers, and Buccaneers, but there are stops in the road which will test them. How they play against New Orleans and Minnesota back-to-back, will be a strong testament to their legitimacy. Newton needs to play well, and they will have to fend off other teams making a playoff push to make it into the postseason.

Great games ahead

There will be plenty of tough matchups for all of these teams to show how strong of a team they really are. Some are going to prove to be playoff contenders, while others are going to show the league and its viewers that their early success was misleading. The head-to-heads of the teams mentioned above are going to have strong influences of how the playoff picture looks when the postseason begins.

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