In the playoff mix

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*With the NFC at a record-level of parity, the playoff chase is anyone's ball game. Currently there are eight teams with winning records, and the race for the conference's six playoff spots is sure to be one for the ages. AtlantaFalcons.com contributing writer Daniel Cox examines the remaining schedules for each of the eight teams from multiple angles to uncover any advantages or disadvantages. *

The NFC is closer than it's ever been, with eight teams with a .500 record or better. With only six spots for the playoffs available, the season's final seven games are critical since no team has truly separated itself from the remainder of the NFC pack.

A closer look at the breakdown of each team's remaining games reveals two things: a lot of conference games are still left to play and many of the teams will beat up on each other (example: the Giants face the Eagles twice).

Of the eight winning teams currently in the NFC, the Falcons are the only team with all conference games remaining. The Bears and the Saints have the fewest with four.

The one bright spot in the remaining schedule for the Falcons is their two games against 1-8 Carolina. With the exception of Week 11's opponent, the St. Louis Rams, Atlanta faces four NFC teams that are in the playoff hunt.

Just like many of the teams on the list, the Falcons are playing games against other winning NFC franchises and have an opportunity to control their own playoff destiny.

Down to the wire, the NFC will be a battle of attrition.

A closer look at the games remaining for NFC teams with winning records:

Atlanta Falcons (7-2)

7 NFC games remain. * 4-1 current conference record. * 3 home games; 4 away games. * 4 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Seattle, New Orleans). * 28-26 record for remaining NFC opponents (4-5 Rams, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Saints and 2 against 1-8 Carolina). * 13-14 record for visiting teams. 16-20 record for away game opponents. * 1 cold weather NFC opponent (Seattle), 2 warm games (Carolina and Tampa Bay) and 4 dome games.

New York Giants (6-3)

6 NFC games remain. * 5-1 current conference record. * 3 home games; 4 away games. * 3 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (2 with Eagles and 1 with Green Bay). * 19-17 record for remaining NFC opponents (2 against Eagles, Minnesota, Green Bay and 2 against 4-5 Washington). * 15-12 record for visiting teams. 15-12 record for away game opponents. * 6 cold weather NFC games remain and 1 dome game (Minnesota).

Philadelphia Eagles (6-3)

6 NFC games remain. * 4-2 current conference record. * 4 home games; 3 away games. * 3 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (2 with Giants and 1 with Chicago). * 17-19 record for remaining NFC opponents (2 against Giants, Chicago, Minnesota and 2 against 2-7 Dallas). * 15-21 record for visiting teams. 14-13 record for away game opponents. * 6 cold weather NFC games remain and 1 warm weather game (Dallas).

Chicago Bears (6-3)

4 NFC games remain * 5-3 current conference record * 3 home games; 4 away games. * 2 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (Philadelphia and Green Bay). * 17-19 record for remaining NFC opponents (Eagles, 2-7 Detroit, 3-6 Minnesota, Green Bay). * 20-7 record for visiting teams. 16-20 record for away game opponents. * 4 cold weather NFC games remain and 2 dome games (Detroit and Minnesota).

Green Bay Packers (6-3)

6 NFC games remain. * 4-2 current conference record. * 3 home games; 4 away games. * 3 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (Atlanta, Giants and Chicago). * 27-27 record for remaining NFC opponents (Minnesota, Atlanta, 3-6 San Francisco, Detroit, New York and Chicago). * 15-12 record for visiting teams. 19-17 record for away game opponents. * 4 cold weather NFC games remain and 3 dome games (Minnesota, Atlanta and Detroit).

New Orleans Saints (6-3)

4 NFC games remain. * 5-2 current conference record. * 3 home games; 4 away games. * 3 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (Seattle and Atlanta and Tampa Bay in season's final two weeks). * 24-21 record for remaining NFC opponents (Seattle, Dallas, Rams, Atlanta and Tampa Bay). * 15-12 record for visiting teams. 15-19 record for away game opponents. * 4 dome games, 1 warm weather game (Dallas) and 2 cold weather games against AFC opponents.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

6 NFC games remain. * 4-2 current conference record. * 3 home games; 4 away games. * 3 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (Atlanta and Seattle and New Orleans in season's final two weeks). * 27-27 record for remaining NFC opponents (49ers, Atlanta, Washington, Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans). * 14-13 record for visiting teams. 19-17 record for away game opponents. * 3 warm weather games, 1 dome game (New Orleans) and 2 NFC cold weather games.

Seattle Seahawks (5-4)

6 NFC games remain. * 4-2 current conference record. * 4 home games; 3 away games. * 3 games remaining against NFC teams with .500 or better record (New Orleans, Atlanta and Tampa Bay). * 27-27 record for remaining NFC opponents (New Orleans, Carolina, 49ers, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Rams). * 17-19 record for visiting teams. 15-12 record for away game opponents. * 5 cold weather games, 1 warm weather game (Tampa Bay) and 1 dome game (New Orleans).

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