AFC North: AFC Stock Watch 2010 Week 8

How I See It: AFC North Stock Watch

November, 3, 2010
11/03/10
1:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Bruce Arians, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator: Arians did a commendable job of managing the offense during the suspension of franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh wasn't putting up gaudy numbers but played efficient to start the year 3-1. But the Steelers are at full strength and expected to score a lot more than the 10 points they registered Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Arians struggled with his play calling and lack of adjustments against the Saints' various blitzes.

[+] EnlargeChad Ochocinco
Icon SMIChad Ochocinco has caught more than four passes in a game just twice this season.
2. Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals receiver: The Pro Bowl receiver seems confused and frustrated with his slow start this season. Ochocinco has five games this year where he's recorded four or fewer receptions. Ochocinco believes he's not getting enough opportunities but was targeted eight times in Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins. He recorded three receptions for 34 yards. Although Cincinnati's playoff hopes are all but done, Ochocinco has to produce if this team has any chance of turning it around.

3. Troy Polamalu, Steelers safety: Polamalu had a rare off game against New Orleans, and this is the first time I can recall Polamalu in the "Falling" category of our Stock Watch. He had six tackles but was a step late in coverage as Saints Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees carved up the Steelers for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Polamalu will look to bounce back Monday against the Bengals.

RISING

1. Baltimore Ravens: Despite the bye week, the Ravens moved into first place in the AFC North as the rest of the division went winless in Week 8. Baltimore (5-2) has the same record as Pittsburgh (5-2) but owns the head-to-head advantage after the Ravens' road win on Oct. 3. Baltimore isn’t playing its best football, but the team has quietly won four of its last five games. The Ravens are well-rested and in solid position to make a playoff push in the second half of the season.

2. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers receiver: It looks like the Steelers found their kick returner. Sanders proved his performance against Miami wasn't a fluke, as he had two more solid returns of 41 and 38 yards against New Orleans. Sanders fumbled twice (losing one) in the past two games, so ball security is an area he needs to improve. But the rookie receiver has added a spark to Pittsburgh's special teams.

3. James Harrison, Steelers linebacker: Harrison bounced back from his least productive game of the season against Miami and recorded five tackles, a sack and three additional hits on the quarterback against New Orleans. Harrison gave the Saints problems with his relentlessness, and he was one of only two Steelers to record a sack. Pittsburgh cornerback Bryant McFadden also got a sack and forced a fumble by Brees.

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