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Identifying the X-Factors for the Steelers in Week 12 vs. the Bengals

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There are several players for the Steelers who could be viewed as ‘X-Factors’ leading up to the game.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12 at Paul Brown Stadium. It is the Steelers’ eleventh game of the season, and hopefully their sixth win of 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 8 game vs. Miami?

Let’s take a look...

Offensive X-Factor: Mason Rudolph

This might be the most obvious choice, but it is obvious how the Steelers need Rudolph to not just be a game manager but a player who is capable to win enough games to get the team to the postseason. Rudolph had done an admirable job of that throughout his first handful of starts, but Week 11 was a huge step backward. Now Rudolph has to bounce back, and that could be the difference between a win and a loss.

Defensive X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick

It has been a while, two weeks, since we last saw a Fitzpatrick takeaway. That is too long for an offense which can’t seem to put the ball into the end zone. Fitzpatrick might be the Steelers best offensive player right now, and time for him to be the X-Factor we all know he can be.


This week I asked Cincy Jugnle’s writer Peter Judis a series of questions leading up to the game, and I asked him who he thought the Dolphins’ ‘X-Factor’ would be. Here was his response:

It absolutely come down to whether Finley can get anything going on offense. He hasn’t done much to put the Bengals in a position to win games over two games, but he is a rookie. I think Tyler Boyd getting in his ear after last week should help since Boyd should be getting as many targets as possible. Finley doesn’t even have to go out and toss three touchdowns. He just needs to hit the easy throws to move the ball and not make any major mistakes that lead to defensive touchdowns.

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!