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Monday, September 15, 2008
AFC North stock watch


Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Two weeks of NFL football are in the books. And although just three AFC North teams played Sunday because of weather complications with Hurricane Ike, let's take a look at who's hot and who's not within the division.

Roethlisberger

Who's hot?

1. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger has thrown sparingly this season but he's completed an outstanding 75.7 percent of his passes. He had two key strikes of 11 yards and 48 yards to receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, respectively, that helped put points on the board in Pittsburgh's 10-6 win over Cleveland Sunday night. Despite an ailing shoulder, Roethlisberger has been extremely efficient and looks ready for whenever the Steelers need him to air it out more.
Winslow

2. Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, Cleveland Browns

Winslow has been the Browns' only reliable player on offense during Cleveland's two losses to start the season. There were times during Sunday's game against Pittsburgh when it appeared he was the only Brown playing at normal speed through inclement weather. He had seven receptions for 55 yards, and Winslow's one-on-one battles with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu were fun to watch.

Odom

3. Antwan Odom, defensive end, Cincinnati Bengals

Perhaps it was facing his former team in the Tennessee Titans that got Odom's motor going. But the defensive end had his finest game so far with the Bengals by recording four tackles and a sack. Odom was a rare bright spot for the Bengals on a day when not much went right during a 24-7 loss.

Who's not?

1. Romeo Crennel, head coach, Cleveland Browns

Crennel

The Browns are having some clock-management and decision-making issues at the end of halves and games. Although some of the blame falls on the assistants, Crennel deserves most of the heat as head coach. Cleveland's offense completely botched the end of the first half Sunday night that resulted in an interception in the red zone. Also, down 10-3 late in the fourth quarter, Crennel's decision to kick a field goal on fourth-and-7 at Pittsburgh's 20 yard line also didn't work. The latter decision wasn't totally egregious, but it did turn a one possession game into a two possession game by kicking the field goal and, thus, needing the ball again and having to drive the length of the field to get the desired result.

2. Cincinnati Bengals' offense

Through two games, this unit is performing far below expectations. Both quarterback Carson Palmer and tailback Chris Perry were on the "who's not" list last week, but it's not just those two players that are struggling. Cincinnati's offense as a whole is not clicking and has just 10 points on the season. When the strength of the team is not productive, the Bengals have little chance of winning.

Anderson

3. Derek Anderson, quarterback, Cleveland Browns

Usually a head coach and his quarterback are tied closely together, and that is certainly the case in Cleveland. As Crennel is struggling with his decision-making early in the season, so is Anderson. His two interceptions Sunday night were costly in a close game, particularly the one right before halftime to Polamalu that could have resulted in a touchdown or, at the very least, a field goal. Anderson completed 18 of 32 passes for 166 yards, two turnovers, and had a 44.5 quarterback rating. And both losses have been at home, where Anderson usually excels.