With half of the 2013 NFL season in the books, 15 of the NFL's 32 teams are .500 or better, meaning that plenty of teams are still in the hunt, led by the 8-0 Chiefs and 7-1 Broncos, . While the Jets and Cowboys seem focused on breaking their fans' hearts at inconsistent 4-4 records, the Bengals and Lions looked primed for playoff contention through gutsy and dramatic performances.
Here's What We Learned:
Jets Consistently Inconsistent: For the tenth consecutive week, the Jets have failed to win two games in a row. After their victory last week over the New England Patriots, many thought Gang Green had finally begun to head in the right direction with rookie QB Geno Smith. But after a 49-9 drubbing at the hands of the AFC North-leading Bengals this week - thanks mainly to a four-TD game from Bengals WR Marvin Jones - the questions surrounding the Jets aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
Broncos Ride Over Skins: Washington had a 21-14 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Peyton Manning, his receiving core and Knowshon Moreno had other plans. Connecting with eight different receivers and throwing four TDs, it's crazy to think this wasn't even close to being Manning's best performance of the season. In spite of only 44 yards on the ground, Moreno continues to prove himself as a versatile threat, with six catches for 89 yards and a TD.
Dallas Falters, Lions Leap into Contention: It's been a long season already if you're a Dallas Cowboys fan. After a 51-48 loss to the Broncos in week five, the heartbreak continued after a one-yard TD run from Matt Stafford with just 12 seconds remaining that led to a 31-30 Detroit win. And just like that game against the Broncos, the Dallas defense was at fault. 329 yards receiving from Calvin Johnson and 92 yards rushing and eight catches from Reggie Bush led Detroit to victory. Now 5-3, Detroit is right in the thick of things in the NFC North.
Giants D Continues to Save Season: After they played some of the worst defense in NFL history through six games, Big Blue has been gold the last two weeks, giving up just 14 combined points against the Vikings and the Eagles. Although the Viking and Eagles' consistency on offense has been questioned throughout the season, the Giants go into the bye week winners of their last two and look ahead to a week 10 encounter with the inconsistent Raiders.
49ers Offense Finding Gold: After week three, the 49ers, then 1-2, looked like a much different team than the one that was in the Super Bowl last season. Six weeks later, San Francisco has scored at least 30 points in five consecutive wins. Much of that success has to do with the combination of Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick, who have scored 19 of the team's total 35 TDs this season. This week against the winless-Jaguars, Kaepernick had three TDs, while Gore added two of his own, en-route to a 42-10 win.
Chiefs Started From the Bottom Now They're Here: Ending last season with a 2-14 record, no one thought the Andy Reid-coached Chiefs would have eight wins this season, nevermind a perfect record through half the season. But between a scrappy defense and the solid Alex Smith at QB, the Chiefs are the only team left in the NFL with a perfect record. Against the Browns this week, the Chiefs got a two-TD performance from Smith and 120 total yards from Jamaal Charles in a 23-17 win.