The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6 in California. It is the Steelers’ second trip to the west coast of the season, and hopefully the first of many wins for the 2019 regular season.
When looking at the matchup between AFC North foes, there are players who can be viewed as ‘X-Factors’.
What is an ‘X-Factor’?
I would describe an ‘X-Factor’ as a player who can truly alter the outcome of the game, single-handedly. Not just a plug and play type player, but a player who always has to be accounted for, no matter what.
As a clear-cut example of what an ‘X-Factor’ player would look like, think Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s skill set made him a force to be reckoned with on every play. So, who are the ‘X-Factors’ for the Steelers Week 6 game vs. Los Angeles?
Let’s take a look...
Offensive X-Factor: Devlin Hodges/Randy Fichtner
Hodges is the easy answer for the offensive X-Factor, but notice it isn’t just Hodges who is listed. In my opinion, how the Steelers’ offensive coordinator handles Hodges and the Steelers’ game plan will be the difference between success and failure. Let Hodges do what he does best, and throw the ball, the Steelers will have a chance. Handcuff Hodges like they did Mason Rudolph in his first two starts and the offense will likely continue to sputter.
Defensive X-Factor: T.J. Watt/Pass Rush
If the Chargers have a glaring weakness on their offense, it is found along their offensive line. Philip Rivers is great at getting the ball out of his hands quickly, but eventually he will try to take a shot downfield, and when he does the Steelers need to do what they have done since 2017 — sack the quarterback. Rivers is as tough as they come, and just getting hits on the quarterback won’t be enough. You have to take him down and force the Chargers into obvious down and distances if you want to win.
Who would be your ‘X-Factor’ for the game? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the upcoming game!