AFC North Stock Market: Week 7
The NFL regular season is more volatile on a week-to-week basis than the Stock Market. One team that lost by several touchdowns the week before can follow up with a blowout victory. Players who are responsible for the blame one week could be responsible for a game-winning play the next.
With Week 6 of the regular season in the books, let’s take a look at three AFC North players who saw their stock rise, and three others from the division who saw it fall as we head into Week 7.
Landry Jones, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jones came out of nowhere to lead the Steelers to victory over Arizona in relief of the injured and ineffective Mike Vick. Jones, who had never gotten off the bench in two-plus seasons, tossed two touchdown passes to Martavis Bryant in the second half and finished 8 of 12 for 168 yards. If Ben Roethlisberger is unable to play in Week 7 against Kansas City, Jones should get the call for his first NFL start.
Brandon Williams, defensive tackle, Baltimore Ravens
Williams has been a run-stuffing extraordinaire through six games, topping Pro Football Focus’ ratings of tackles against the run. Williams helped limit 49ers running back Carlos Hyde to just 55 yards on 21 carries Sunday, an average of 2.6 yards. He also added two hurries and a batted pass against Colin Kaepernick. Williams has established himself as the Ravens’ most reliable defensive lineman in the wake of Haloti Ngata’s departure.
Darqueze Dennard, cornerback, Cincinnati Bengals
Dennard delivered after finally getting an extended opportunity to play with a career-high 48 snaps in Buffalo. The 2014 first-round pick recorded his first career interception and allowed just one catch for five yards. Dennard has been buried on the depth chart behind Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Leon Hall, but we could start seeing more of him now that he has one solid performance under his belt.
Josh McCown, quarterback, Cleveland Browns
McCown threw away any chance the Browns had of winning Sunday’s game against Denver. After a pick-six in the first half, McCown’s ill-advised chuck in the final minute of regulation cost his team a chance at a game-winning field goal. Needing only 15 yards or so to get in field goal range, McCown inexplicably threw the ball up for grabs on 2nd-and-10 and was intercepted. Then with another opportunity to get within field goal range in overtime, McCown was sacked on consecutive plays and the Broncos won on the ensuing drive.
Joe Flacco, quarterback, Baltimore Ravens
Speaking of ill-advised chucks, Flacco admitted that he didn’t even look where he was throwing on his second interception in San Francisco on Sunday, saying he was just trying to throw the ball away down the field. The way things are going this season for the Ravens, Flacco has little margin for errors like the ones he’s been making. With seven interceptions in six games, the eight-year veteran needs to elevate his game if Baltimore (1-4) is going to rise from the cellar of the AFC North.
Antwon Blake, cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Blake was picked on all day by Carson Palmer on Sunday. He was targeted 13 times, allowing nine catches for 163 yards and a touchdown, with each reception resulting in a first down. Blake has been playing over 90 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, but that could change if he keeps getting burned like he did on Sunday.
*All statistics on yards allowed in coverage are provided via Pro Football Focus