» NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
Despite being a first place team after Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens, don’t be surprised if the Cincinnati Bengals change long-snappers this week.
St. Louis has had bad snaps in four games this season. There were two against Baltimore, but one was called back during an extra point due to a penalty by the Ravens. The Bengals reportedly worked out long-snappers last week. Look for Cincinnati to intensify its search this week in an effort to clean up one of the few disappointing aspects of the team’s 4-1 start.
2. Derek Anderson, Browns quarterback
The Browns are going to have to live with good and bad days from Anderson, and in Week 5 it was certainly a bad one for Cleveland’s starting quarterback.
Anderson completed just 2 of 17 passes for 23 yards and a 15.1 passer rating against the Buffalo Bills. But perhaps the most surprising part was the Browns won the game 6-3. Drops were an issue and the wind was swirling in Buffalo. But Bills quarterback Trent Edwards managed to complete more than 50 percent of his passes and throw for 151 yards under the same conditions.
The fact that the Browns won will hold off another quarterback controversy in the short-term. Anderson is 1-1 as a starter this season.
3. Joe Flacco, Ravens quarterback
Flacco wasn’t terrible. But in a big game for first place in the division, he was average for the first time this season. The second-year quarterback threw for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Baltimore’s loss to the Bengals.
The Ravens only put up seven points offensively, which receiver Derrick Mason called embarrassing for a unit that ran roughshod through the league during the first month of the season. Flacco made some throws he would certainly like to have back. He will have to play better if the Ravens plan to upset the undefeated Minnesota Vikings next week.
1. Mike Zimmer, Bengals defensive coordinator
Of the many superb performances on the field for the Bengals, none took more strength and courage than Zimmer, who traveled with the team to call the game just a few days after the passing of his wife, Vikki.
The Bengals' defensive coordinator somehow remained focus through a very trying time and called a masterful game that held the Ravens in check. Cincinnati didn’t give up an offensive touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter. The Bengals dedicated the win to Zimmer and his family, and it was well deserved.
2. Cedric Benson, Bengals running back
Benson accomplished something that no player had been able to do in 39 consecutive games. The Cincinnati running back rushed for more than 100 yards against Baltimore’s rugged defense.
Benson stayed patient and continued to run downhill to the tune of 120 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. His performance kept the Ravens off balance as the Bengals put up 403 total yards of offense. Since the final month of last season, Benson has been one of the NFL's most consistent running backs.
3. James Harrison, Steelers linebacker
After a relatively slow start, Harrison is starting to heat up for the Steelers. The reigning NFL defensive player of the year registered a three-sack performance in a win over the Detroit Lions and now has five sacks in the past two games.
Harrison has fought through double teams all season, and the absence of Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu also hasn’t helped. But with Harrison turning the corner and Polamalu’s return upcoming, the Steelers could be getting back to their dominant ways defensively as they get closer to midseason.
1:00 PM ET Tampa Bay Cleveland 1:00 PM ET Arizona Dallas 1:00 PM ET Philadelphia Houston 1:00 PM ET New York Kansas City 1:00 PM ET Jacksonville Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET San Diego Miami 1:00 PM ET Washington Minnesota 4:05 PM ET St. Louis San Francisco 4:25 PM ET Denver New England 4:25 PM ET Oakland Seattle 8:30 PM ET Baltimore Pittsburgh