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Monday, December 8, 2008
AFC North stock watch

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

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

Reed

Who's hot?

1. Ed Reed, S, Baltimore Ravens
Reed is not only giving Baltimore a spark on defense, he's giving the Ravens points and helping the offense, too. The Pro Bowl safety finds the end zone like no other defensive player in the NFL. Reed scored another touchdown on a 22-yard fumble return in Baltimore's 24-10 victory over the Washington Redskins. Reed made heady plays all game, forcing three turnovers (one fumble and two interceptions).

Townsend

2. Deshea Townsend, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Give credit to Townsend. He's hung in there through injury and a demotion this season and never complained. Now Townsend plays mostly in sub packages but he plays hard with every opportunity. The latest opportunity came in Pittsburgh's 20-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys when his 25-yard interception return with 1:40 remaining proved to be the go-ahead touchdown. Townsend is the latest unsung player to be a hero for Pittsburgh in an important game.

Jackson

3. D'Qwell Jackson, LB, Cleveland Browns
Jackson completes a clean sweep for defensive players this week in the division. Lost in a 4-9 season is Jackson's quiet production for the Browns. Sunday he recorded 15 tackles and two interceptions in a 28-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Jackson, who leads the NFL in tackles, could have been higher on this list if the Browns were not blown out Sunday.

Who's not?

1. The Cincinnati Bengals
Where do you start with the Bengals? Right now they can't stop anybody and they can't score, as evident by their 35-3 debacle to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday. The Bengals have lost the past two games by the score of 69-6 in what is a clear sign that the end of the season cannot come soon enough. Cincinnati (1-11-1) needs one more victory to avoid the worst season in franchise history, but it could be a tall task.

Dorsey

2. Ken Dorsey, QB, Cleveland Browns
The Ken Dorsey era didn't get off to a rousing start. He threw for 150 yards and one interception in Sunday's 28-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Dorsey knows the offense well, but his physical attributes left very little confidence that Cleveland can do any damage the rest of the season. His lack of arm strength limited what the Browns could do offensively, and once the team fell behind, Cleveland had no firepower with Dorsey to answer.

Lewis

3. Jamal Lewis, RB, Cleveland Browns
Lewis has been stewing for weeks for not getting enough carries. He knows this is his time of year but his production and opportunities have been lacking lately. Lewis had just seven carries for seven yards against Tennessee. The problem was two sided. He needs more than seven carries to be effective, but at the same time averaging one yard per attempt will not instill confidence in the coaching staff for more chances.