The playoff picture in the NFC remains a work in progress after an unpredictable start to the season has given way to a curious midpoint in which all four divisions are still up for grabs.
Quarterback injuries have marred the NFC North, leaving only the Detroit Lions unscathed as three teams are tied atop the division. Jay Cutler is returning to the Bears in Week 10, but Green Bay needs to weather the storm for at least three weeks until Aaron Rodgers is able to return.
The Carolina Panthers are one of the NFL's hottest teams and have narrowed the New Orleans Saints' lead to one game in the NFC South. A struggling Atlanta team turned the division into a two-horse race, setting up a fascinating head-to-head series at the end of the year.
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen called the NFC East the "SEC of the NFL," which would have been accurate if the SEC stood for disappointment and underperformance. It takes a barely .500 record to lead the division, keeping the door wide open for any team in the division to close the gap on the Dallas Cowboys.
The NFC West is the gold-standard for the conference. Both the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are dangerous teams, with the Cardinals still having an outside shot a Wild Card spot with a 4-4 record on the season. The 49ers have a few tough games ahead of them, which will set up the back-end of the season.
If the playoffs started today:
1. Seattle Seahawks (8-1)
2. New Orleans Saints (6-2)
3. Detroit Lions (5-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
6. Carolina Panthers (5-3)