AFC North stock watch

December, 1, 2008
12/01/08
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Let's see who's hot and who's not in the division:

Who's hot?

1. Pittsburgh Steelers defense

Not only did the Steelers cool off red-hot quarterback Matt Cassel, but they held an opponent to 10 points for the fourth time in five games with a 33-10 victory over the New England Patriots. With December approaching, it's safe to say the Steelers have the best defense in the NFL this year or, at the very least, the most consistent. Pittsburgh forced five turnovers and five sacks.

Clayton

2. Mark Clayton, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens No. 2 receiver was waiting for his first breakout game of the season, and Clayton got it Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Clayton had five catches, 164 yards receiving and two touchdowns (one passing, one receiving) in a 34-3 thrashing of the Cincinnati Bengals.

3. Kyle Larson, P, Cincinnati Bengals

Larson

On the flip side of Cincinnati blowout loss, the Bengals got a great performance from their punter. Larson had his best and most busy game of the season, punting 11 times for 479 yards, an average of 43.5 yards per punt. He also had a long of 55 yards and three punts inside the 20. Too bad it didn't matter. Cincinnati's defense couldn't stop Baltimore and gave up 451 yards.

Who's not?

Crennel

1. Romeo Crennel, head coach, Cleveland Browns

The Browns were not expected to beat the Indianapolis Colts. But the report before the game that  Crennel would need a miracle to save his job didn't help. Then he lost his second quarterback -- Derek Anderson -- for the season. With third stringer Ken Dorsey playing quarterback the rest of the season, there's little chance Crennel will win enough games the rest of the year to keep his job.

Fitzpatrick

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Fitzpatrick continues to under-perform and the Bengals (1-10-1) continue to lose games. Fitzpatrick couldn't get anything going in a 34-3 loss to the Ravens. He 12 for 31 for 124 yards. He also fumbled twice, although both were recovered by the Bengals. Eventually he was relieved by backup Jordan Palmer, who also threw a pick.

3. Derek Anderson, QB, Cleveland Browns

Anderson

As mentioned earlier, Anderson suffered a season-ending knee injury at a time when the Browns needed him and he needed playing time. Brady Quinn already is penciled in as the starting quarterback for 2009. So Anderson could have used these final four games to audition for the other 31 NFL teams. Now his trade value will be diminished coming off a bad year and a knee injury.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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