Drew Brees, Saints
USA Today

NFC playoff picture, Week 8: 49ers attempt to stay unbeaten

It’s a deep conference when a team has an unblemished record through seven weeks and one loss could drop it down to having a game in the Wild Card game.

Unlike the AFC, the NFC appears loaded with no hope of reaching the postseason without 10 wins. Here’s what you should be watching for this weekend:

1. San Francisco 49ers (6-0)
2. New Orleans Saints (6-1)
3. Green Bay Packers (6-1)
4. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
6. Seattle Seahawks (5-2)

7. Carolina Panthers (4-2)
8. Los Angeles Rams (4-3)
9. Chicago Bears (3-3)
10. Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1)

One of the best games involves the 49ers and the Panthers, with Carolina coming off a bye. Since starting Kyle Allen in place of the injured Cam Newton, the Panthers are 4-0. With a win in San Francisco this weekend, the question will truly arise as to whether Newton gets his job back. As for the Niners, a win would propel them to a perfect start through seven games and give more credence to the notion San Francisco can stay atop the NFC moving forward.

New Orleans and Green Bay are both favorites this weekend, with the Saints playing host to the Cardinals while the Packers are on the road come Sunday night to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Saints are getting Drew Brees back under center after he missed five games with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Meanwhile, Green Bay has the good fortune of drawing the Chiefs without Patrick Mahomes in the lineup.

Dallas and Minnesota are both off this weekend. The Cowboys have their bye week while the Vikings already won, beating the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.

Seattle and Los Angeles should have their easiest wins of the year. The Seahawks are visiting the Atlanta Falcons on the road without Matt Ryan, while the Rams get to welcome in the Cincinnati Bengals. The Falcons and Bengals are a combined 1-13.

Finally, the Bears. After losing to the Oakland Raiders and Saints in their past two games, it’s time to make a stand or likely drop from the playoff picture in any meaningful way. Chicago hosts the Los Angeles Chargers, a 2-5 outfit which could be without wide receiver Keenan Allen. A loss here would be devastating for the Bears, who had designs on a Super Bowl run only a month ago.

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