How I See It: AFC North Stock Watch

October, 27, 2009
10/27/09
11:00
AM ET
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Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Falling
Anderson
1. Derek Anderson, Browns quarterback

Anderson has the lowest passer rating (40.6) of any NFL starting quarterback. JaMarcus Russell (47.2) of the Oakland Raiders is second, and he was pulled over the weekend.

Yet, the Browns stuck with Anderson throughout their 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He played every snap and completed 12 of 29 passes for 99 yards and an interception. Anderson also will start Sunday against the Chicago Bears. The good news is the Bears allowed 45 points last week to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Robiskie
2. Brian Robiskie, Browns receiver

It hasn't been a good start to the season for rookie Brian Robiskie. It took Robiskie weeks to work his way off the inactive list, and now that he’s playing he hasn’t made any impact.

Last weekend, Green Bay Packers cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris schooled the second-round pick. Robiskie struggled to get open and was shut out for zero catches, despite being targeted five times.

It was a good learning experience for Robiskie, who has to keep working at his craft to help get the Browns out of their offensive struggles.
Gay
3. William Gay, Steelers cornerback

It was a tough day for the Pittsburgh Steelers' secondary in general against the Minnesota Vikings. But Gay had the toughest day in a 27-17 victory for Pittsburgh.

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (334 passing yards) tested Gay, who had nine tackles and one pass defensed. But the toughest play for Gay was Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson trucking him to the ground in what will surely be a season highlight. It was the football equivalent of being "posterized" in basketball.

Rising

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

The defending Super Bowl champions made a huge statement by being the first team to knock off the Minnesota Vikings (6-1). The Steelers (5-2) did it in unconventional fashion by scoring two defensive touchdowns.

But the game marked the biggest victory of the season for Pittsburgh and its fourth win in a row. After a slow start, the Steelers appear to be rounding into form. Pittsburgh now has a bye week to get healthy and prepare for its next game against the Denver Broncos on Nov. 9.
Palmer
2. Carson Palmer, Bengals quarterback

Palmer had the most efficient game of his career in Cincinnati’s 45-10 thrashing of the Chicago Bears. He completed 20 of 24 passes for 233 yards and five touchdowns. Palmer's passer rating of 146.7 was a career high.

It’s scary to think of the numbers Palmer could’ve put up if he hadn't been pulled early in the fourth quarter. He was in the zone in terms of reading coverages and getting the ball to his receivers with pinpoint accuracy. It will be interesting to see if Palmer maintains this momentum following Cincinnati's bye week.
Benson
3. Cedric Benson, Bengals running back

Benson was equally as good running the football for the Bengals. He was motivated to have a big game against his former team and set a career high with 189 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries.

The Bengals had no problem giving Benson every opportunity to stick it to his former team. It will probably be a game Benson will never forget. With Palmer airing it out and Benson running the ball, Cincinnati’s offensive performance against Chicago was as close to a perfect game as you will find in the NFL.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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