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NFC playoff picture: Cowboys have a big lead

Dallas Cowboys v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 06: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys takes a hand off in the second half from Dak Prescott #4 against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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The Cowboys are atop the NFC, with room to spare.

At 8-1, the Cowboys have the best record in the NFL and a significant lead in the NFC. Dallas isn’t just aiming for an NFC East title down the stretch; Dallas is the favorite for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

But it’s a crowded field in the NFC, with 14 teams that still have some semblance of playoff hopes. Here’s how it shapes up:

1. Cowboys (8-1): If the Cowboys can go 6-1 in their remaining seven games, they clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs regardless of what anyone else does.

2. Seahawks (6-2-1): Seattle has a two-game lead in the NFC West.

3. Falcons (6-4): Atlanta has a 1.5-game lead in the NFC South.

4. Lions (5-4): Detroit has the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over Minnesota; their Thanksgiving rematch looms large.

5. Giants (6-3): Two games behind the Cowboys in the NFC East, but the leader of the wild card pack.

6. Washington (5-3-1): Tying instead of losing in Week Eight gives Washington a half-game lead in the wild card race.

7. Eagles (5-4): Philadelphia is in a rough spot in the NFC East: They have the seventh-best record in the conference but the fourth-best record in the division.

8. Vikings (5-4): After starting 5-0, the Vikings appear to be in free-fall. But after facing the Cardinals on Sunday, they can jump right back into first place if they beat the Lions on Thanksgiving.

9. Cardinals (4-4-1): Catching the Seahawks in the NFC West is going to be a tall order. But despite a very disappointing start to the season, they’re still just a game out of wild card contention.

10. Buccaneers (4-5): The Bucs’ 4-3 conference record could prove helpful in a playoff race.

11. Packers (4-5): As ugly as they looked on Sunday in Tennessee, they’re still just a game behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North.

12. Rams (4-5): Jeff Fisher didn’t want to see any 7-9 bulls--t this season, but that’s exactly the trajectory his team is on.

13. Saints (4-6): The Saints have nothing but conference games remaining, which gives them a chance to climb up the NFC standings.

14. Panthers (4-6): Can the defending NFC champions get back to the playoffs? At this point they’ll likely have to run the table -- and even that may not be enough.