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No. 1) Green Bay Packers vs. No. 8) Seattle Seahawks
When trying to project who will earn the No. 1 seed in a respective conference nearly a year before the season, it's wise to look at the quarterback position.
With Aaron Rodgers under center, the Packers are in better hands than any NFC team for the next several seasons.
Seattle has overachieved this season, but that defense will keep them competitive in the near future. If Russell Wilson can keep up his current level of play, the Seahawks will continue to threaten for a spot in the playoffs.
And if the league were to go to a 16-team setting, Seattle would no doubt be one of the eight teams from the NFC.
Looking at this matchup, one immediately thinks of the "Inaccurate Reception" on Monday Night Football this year. But looking past a criminal gaffe in officiating, the Seahawks give the Packers some matchup problems on the perimeter.
This would be an interesting game to watch and it could come down to the final possession. But playing at Lambeau, the Packers have the clear edge.
No. 2) San Francisco 49ers vs. No. 7) Dallas Cowboys
Much like the Packers, the San Francisco 49ers are clearly the best team in their division right now. Colin Kaepernick has a much higher ceiling than Alex Smith, which surely gives the rest of the NFC reason to worry. Oh yeah, and the 49ers boast the best defense in football. So, there's that.
The Cowboys have rallied this season to put themselves into position to earn a playoff berth. If the league expanded the field to 16 teams, Dallas certainly has the talent to crack the top eight in the NFC.
San Francisco versus Dallas would conjure up memories of the 1990s. This would be a great game to watch, and this really has the feel of a potential March Madness-style upset.
The 49ers would certainly be favored at home, but things could get interesting against the Cowboys in San Francisco.
No. 3) New York Giants vs. No. 6) Chicago Bears
Although they're struggling to make the playoffs this year, the Giants are without a doubt one of the best teams in the NFC.
And in all likelihood, Eli Manning and company will be in the postseason next year whether the league expands the playoffs or not.
Chicago has the talent to be in the playoffs, but the Bears have fallen flat in the stretch run of the 2012 season.
But with Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Shea McClellin and Henry Melton on the defensive line, this is a team that could slow down some of the better passing teams in the league.
This is another really close matchup that would depend entirely on which teams show up. Both the Giants and the Bears have been known to lay an egg, but when they're on, both teams look like they're among the best in football.
You'd have to lean towards the Giants at home, but you never know which team is going to show up.
No. 4) New Orleans Saints vs. No. 5) Atlanta Falcons
Without Sean Payton, the Saints are a completely different team. He's definitely one of the brightest offensive minds in football, and while Drew Brees is a great quarterback, Payton constructed the New Orleans offense to be what it is—one of the most explosive in the NFL.
Atlanta has the best record in football this season and appears headed for the top seed in the NFC.
But still, many people remain skeptical as to whether or not they're really an elite team. The Falcons are definitely a playoff-caliber team, but the Saints may be better at full strength.
A playoff matchup between these two teams would obviously be their third meeting of the season. March Madness always delivers competitive games in hostile environments.
And whether this game is played in Atlanta or New Orleans, this matchup would certainly live up to its billing.