The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5 at Heinz Field. It is the Steelers’ third home game 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 4 game vs. Cincinnati?
Let’s take a look...
Offensive X-Factor: James Washington
There are some who would put Mason Rudolph into this category ever week until he proves he is capable of being consistent and winning on a regular basis. But that is too easy. For me, the X-Factor is James Washington. Washington has been quiet this entire season, and everyone expected him to show out once Rudolph took over at QB. With Diontae Johnson coming on as a viable target, it is Washington’s turn to win his matchups to create more space for JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Defensive X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick
You didn’t hear much from Minkah Fitzpatrick in Week 4, and that is a good thing. Fitzpatrick seems to have had a calming influence on the back end of the defense, and his football IQ is through the roof. It is now Fitzpatrick should start to be getting comfortable in the new scheme and start making splash plays to help the team win. I hope that time is now for the talented safety.
This week I asked Baltimore Beatdown’s editor Kyle Barber a series of questions leading up to the game, and I asked him who he thought the Ravens’ ‘X-Factor’ would be. Here was his response:
Defense: Marlon Humphrey. He’s a top-five cornerback in the league and when allowed to strap up a wide receiver, he does so. He’s strong, physical and fast. His football IQ is one of the best, too.
Offense: Mark Ingram is the player to watch. He has five rushing touchdowns, yet I don’t hear his name often enough. He’s undoubtedly one of the best free-agent signings in 2019.
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!