NFL week seven: Five things we learnt

A round-up of the action from week seven of the NFL

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The Independent Online

As the NFL approaches its mid-point in the season, Zander Swinburne looks at a possible MVP candidate as well as which surprise team is making a move for the play-offs.

The Jets' season is still not over

Thursday night's fairytale win for the New York Jets failed to materialise when Nick Folk's 58-yard field goal was blocked to give the New England Patriots a 27-25 win in Foxborough. New York played their best game of the season but still fell short, departing Massachusetts with a 1-6 record and next to no hope of making the play-offs. There is however a strange sense of optimism in and around New York that they still have a fighting chance of emerging with something to show for themselves this season. 

Barely 24 hours after their loss, the Jets were once again making waves having traded for Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin. There is whiff of desperation to this move, with GM John Idzik seemingly doing all he can to build some more job security as talent on his roster is thin. Whether it works remains to be seen, but the Jets have at least shown the league as well as their fan base that this year is not yet in the books. A win on Sunday and a few plays from Harvin just might reinvigorate this franchise.

Peyton Manning has cemented his place in history

Peyton Manning at last reigns supreme for most touchdown's ever thrown by an NFL quarterback. He equalled and surpassed Brett Favre's milestone on Sunday night with a 42-17 beating of the San Francisco 49ers. Manning, now with 510 TD's, has beaten a record many expected him to conquer, yet the fact he is still playing at such a high level leaves questions as to whether his eventual record can ever be overtaken.

The next closest active player to Manning for touchdowns thrown is Drew Brees, 136 scores behind. To put this in perspective, Brees would have to throw on average three touchdowns a game for the next two and half seasons just to catch up. Whilst Manning continues to play, he continues to smash records, a feat which will undoubtedly leave him as one of the greatest players to grace the game.

Seattle's hold on the Lombardi trophy slipping

Seattle have found themselves in a position few expected them to be in come the mid-point of the season. Now 3-3, the Seahawks have lost two straight games including a divisional match with the St Louis Rams. Their shock 28-26 loss to the Rams saw the team completely out coached by a St Louis side that had amassed only one other victory this season.

Alarm bells will not yet be ringing in Seattle as their team still has a strong roster. Russell Wilson became the first QB in history to throw for over 300 yards and run for over 100 in a game, whilst the team running back Marshawn Lynch continues to make his case as one of the leagues top players. Two losses for the reigning Super Bowl champs is manageable, but a third straight in Carolina next week will have many questioning the franchise's ability to repeat.

Kansas City slowly but surely making a name for themselves

Last year Kansas City were seen as a one-off wonder, the type of team that surprises all one season but fails to repeat the same trick the next. The Chiefs were seemingly fulfilling most expectations after an 0-2 start but as the weeks have rolled by, confidence of another post-season appearance has been building.

Now at 3-3, the Chiefs have several impressive wins to boast about, with victories over both the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. They neutralised a Miami Dolphins threat in convincing fashion and their win over the Patriots left some to question whether Tom Brady was still an elite quarterback, a feat rarely achieved. Their division remains their biggest obstacle but with games against Buffalo, St Louis, the Jets and Oakland twice, Kansas City could still be in with a chance of a wild card spot should San Diego or Denver slip up. 

DeMarco Murray for MVP?

It's still a little early for MVP discussions, but one player is already making a very good case for himself. Whilst the Dallas Cowboys, now 6-1, continue to sore to new heights, one of their players has cemented himself as the teams workhorse for the season, and the rest of the league has yet to figure out how to stop him.

Running back DeMarco Murray, a fourth-year pro, has finally had his break out season, having already run for over 900 yards at an average of 4.9 yards per carry. On Sunday Murray became the first player in NFL history to start the season with seven consecutive 100 yard games and is only 208 yards short of his total for the entire 2013 season. Behind a high quality offensive line, Murray has propelled the Cowboys to heights next to no one predicted before the start of the year. If his current form continues, Murray's candidacy for MVP will come as no surprise.

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