A look at the NFC South road to the playoffs

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

It's a good thing the Carolina Panthers got off to a fast start. The 8-3 record they built might come in handy because they have the toughest remaining schedule of any NFC team that's a strong playoff contender. Only the Philadelphia Eagles, who are barely hanging on at 5-5-1, have anything close to Carolina's remaining schedule.

The Panthers and Eagles both play opponents who have a combined .636 winning percentage. That's substantially harder than what the three other NFC South teams face in the final five weeks.

Here's a look: