NFL Now or Never: 10 Players Who Need a Good Week 5

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2010

NFL Now or Never: 10 Players Who Need a Good Week 5

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens can't hold onto a pass as he's taken down by Scott Fujita #99 of the Cleveland Browns  at M&T Bank Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17.
    Larry French/Getty Images

    With Week 5 descending upon the NFL, there are those who have performed above what was expected of them (see Arian Foster) and there are plenty who have yet to show off a good week.

    This far into the season it becomes dangerous to rack up the bad weeks, as you risk your team missing out on a precious win, or worse, getting benched.

    Here are 10 players who need to step up this week before the murmurs turn into shouts, and people start calling for their heads.

10. Josh Cribbs

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    CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Wide receiver Joshua Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns runs by wide receiver Jeremy Horne #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Could it be that opposing kick return teams have finally figured out how to stop Cribbs from running wild in the return game?

    Cribbs, with a career average of 26.3 yards per kick return and 10.9 yards per punt return, is only averaging 19.9 yards per kick return and 6.8 yards per punt return.

    His longest kick return this year is 27 yards, pretty much his career average, and his longest punt return of the year is only 15 yards.

    It could be that one of the best special team guys in league history has finally been figured out, but I still wouldn't sleep on him.

9. Shock and AWE

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 19:  Jared Allen #69 of the Minnesota Vikings encourages the crowd during the first half of the game against the Miami Dolphins on September 19, 2010 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jamie Squir
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    OK, so the Vikings defense has been excellent against the pass so far this year, with only 189 yards per game allowed, but where is the thrilling and exciting pass rush of Shock and AWE from last year?

    After annihilating quarterbacks with a staggering 31 sacks last season, the Vikings dominating starting defensive line has a combined two sacks this year.

    Jared Allen, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, and Ray Edwards, after being such a dominating force a year ago, have had very little of the excitement and electricity of last season.

8. T.J. Houshmandzadeh

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  T.J. Houshmandzadeh #84 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a pass against the New York Jets during their home opener at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIs
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    We all remember when Houshmandzadeh was the pass catching machine for Cincinnati in 2007 with 112 receptions and 12 touchdowns. Now, I kind of forgot that he was even still in the league.

    In four games this year he has five catches for 80 yards, not exactly near what he has put up in the past.

    Even in obscurity with Seattle last year he caught 79 passes for 911 yards. So it's not as if he has been in a steep decline for years now.

    With Baltimore seemingly in a two-team race for now (unless Palmer can return to old Palmer form, then it's anybody's game in the AFC North) and Ray Rice slacking a bit, Housh needs to be the man he was in the past to help his team gain a playoff spot.

7. Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Tashard Choice

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    LANDOVER - SEPTEMBER 12:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys hands off to Felix Jones #28 during the NFL season opener against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Cowboys 13-7. (Phot
    Larry French/Getty Images

    The Dallas rushing game has been out of sync to say the least so far this year.

    The trio has put up games of 103, 37, and 101 rushing yards this year, a far cry from the team's 131-yard per game average of last year.

    The team ranks 26th in yards per attempt this year with a measly 3.5 per.

    If they don't find a way to start running the ball like they did last year, each win could be a struggle for this Cowboys team, and they could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.

6. Philadelphia's O-Line

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin #18 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 26, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Eagl
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Seriously guys, your team has had every opportunity to take off in this division and you're racking up more sacks than a potato factory.

    If it wasn't for the Bears O-line, which looked absolutely helpless against the Giants while allowing 10 sacks Sunday night, Philadelphia's line would be in first, with 15 allowed in four games.

    The bad news, the Eagles have two games to play against those same Giants who manhandled the Bears.

    Even worse news, their quarterback already has one concussion under his belt this season, and another could be a huge blow to the team.

    The worsetnews, their other quarterback is out with bruised ribs, and if he comes back to the lineup still sore and gets hit hard, it could be bad news to his breakout season.

    So un-sack up Eagles O-Line, unless you want to have Mike Kafka to protect for the rest of the season.

5. Ray Rice

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns  at M&T Bank Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    The little running back in Baltimore is having a tough year so far.

    He suffered a bruised knee two weeks ago against the Browns and last week was limited to only 20 yards on eight attempts.

    Rice has yet to surpass 100 yards rushing in a single game and, after his breakout year last season has been a pretty big disappointment.

    Rice is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry and has no touchdowns, rushing or receiving, so far this year.

    If he isn't careful, he could end up splitting even more time with veteran Willis McGahee.

4. Cedric Benson

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    CINCINNATI - AUGUST 20:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals is pictured before the NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Paul Brown Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Benson is another AFC North back like Ray Rice who has been underwhelming this season.

    After a breakout last season, Benson is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, yet he is still getting the ball 20 times per game.

    He has a longest run of only 13 yards this year and has almost no receiving yards to speak of.

    Benson is a huge part of the Bengals getting back on track offensively.

    He has recently complained that he isn't happy with the way the offense is being run, but until he starts picking up his production, he can't really complain too much.

3. Joe Flacco

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    PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass behind LaMarr Woodley #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baltimore won the game 17-14. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty I
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Joe showed last week that he could still lead his team on a game-winning drive, as he threw a touchdown to beat the Steelers with 34 seconds left in the game last week. Otherwise he has been pretty underwhelming.

    So far this year, Flacco has a 70.5 QB rating and a 57.2 completion percentage.

    Despite the offensive struggles of the team this season they are still 3-1, and in true Ravens fashion have relied on their defense to win games.

    But who knows how long they can keep that up and still win games.

2. Carson Palmer

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    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03:  Matt Roth #53 of the Cleveland Browns sacks quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    The Bengals made the playoffs in 2009, which masked many of the struggles that Carson Palmer encountered. He posted his fewest passing yards, touchdowns, lowest completion percentage,and lowest QB rating since his rookie year (not including 2008 in which he had a torn elbow ligament).

    The main reasons the Bengals made the playoffs last year was a weak AFC North—which they went 8-0 against—a surprisingly good defense that allowed only 18.1 points per game, and their running game, which surpassed the 2,000 yard mark.

    This year, their defense is still working for them, but Cedric Benson is playing nowhere near the level that he played last year and the Steelers and Ravens are 3-1 and they just lost their first division game with Palmer in the lineup since the first week of 2008.

    It's time for Palmer to step up, or people in the Queen City could start calling for his head.

1. Brett Favre

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after throwing an incomplete pass against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field on September 26, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Image
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    It's time for Favre to either put up, shut up, or retire.

    He has been an absolute disaster thus far for the Vikings, with only two touchdowns and six interceptions. This is not the guy they thought they were bringing into Week 1 this year.

    His shortcomings are forcing Adrian Peterson to rush for 130 yards a game just to keep them in each game. And with the Bears and Packers both looking to build upon their impressive starts, more bad news arises for the Vikings, who sit at just 1-2.

    With the addition of another target in Randy Moss, Favre may be able to shake off the old man rust, because if not, it may be time for him to find another reason to retire.