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The halfway point of the NFL season has brought us break-out stars, high-scoring excitement

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The halfway point of the NFL season has brought us break-out stars, high-scoring excitement

Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a front-runner for MVP.

Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a front-runner for MVP.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a front-runner for MVP.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a front-runner for MVP.

Steven Severance, Sports Writer

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This NFL season has brought us break-out stars, high-scoring excitement

The NFL is halfway through the 2018-19 season, and pre-season expectations look much different than they did eight weeks ago.

The top two teams in the league are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams. If it sounds like a team is missing, it’s because the New England Patriots have made the shortlist for the past three years.

While the Patriots could still find themselves back on top, their struggling start to the season and the Chiefs dominance in play will make advancing an uphill battle.

The emergence of Patrick “Showtime” Mahomes, the Chiefs’ explosive first-year starting quarterback, has been one of the biggest breakout players this season. He has had 26 passing touchdowns through the first eight weeks and has a chance to surpass Peyton Manning’s single-season passing touchdown record of 55.

To cap all this off, he’s 23 years old and has started in nine NFL games. For the sake of all football fans yearning for high scoring games, let’s hope this show goes on for seasons to come.

On the NFC side of the ball, Todd Gurley has solidified himself as one of the best running backs in the league. Last season he tallied 19 touchdowns and 2,000 total yards. This season he’s on pace for an NFL record-setting 30 touchdowns and 2,502 total yards.

His 15 total touchdowns through these first eight games have helped bring the Los Angeles Rams to an undefeated 8-0 start, as they account for half of the team’s touchdowns.

These two young stars are without a doubt the focal points of the NFL, but this season has made way for plenty of other news.

The AFC has seen two crucial playmakers trading teams: both from the Cleveland Browns. The first was the infamous Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots. Gordon has already seen himself game planned as their deep threat– something to keep an eye on with Tom Brady looking at him as a newly added receiving weapon.

The Browns then traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars, though the running back saw his first outing this weekend and only recorded 11 yards on six carries.

The Jags will hope to get more out of their new back, as he cost them a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.  They’ve now lost four straight games after many penciled them in as legitimate title contenders.

The NFC has seen their own blockbuster trade this season, as the Oakland Raiders dealt wide receiver Amari Cooper, 2015 fourth-overall pick, to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a first-round pick.

He’s currently projected for a 560 yard and two touchdown season, though the Cowboys will need to get Cooper immediately involved; the team is still struggling to consistently put up points — especially through the air.

With the trade deadline nearing, teams are stuck with the guys they’ve already got. From this point on, the teams’ only choice is to focus on the players on hand.

According to Bleacher Report, the ranking for top-ten teams through eight weeks of regular-season play are as follows: Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals.

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The halfway point of the NFL season has brought us break-out stars, high-scoring excitement