When looking at the matchup between AFC 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: Devlin Hodges
The Steelers offense is short-handed yet again, and while they face a Bills defense that is legitimate, there will come a time when the offense will need a play from their quarterback. You can play safe and try to run the football as much as you want, but you will eventually have to win a game by throwing the ball. Hodges will have to deliver when that time comes, making him an obvious choice for Offensive X-Factor.
Defensive X-Factor: T.J. Watt/Bud Dupree
Josh Allen was sacked 6 times last week by the Baltimore Ravens, and it will be up to Dupree and Watt to not just sack Allen, but make his life miserable. Living in the backfield, and keeping Allen coned into the interior pocket, will limit his playmaking ability with his legs. A big day from Watt and Dupree will likely result in a win for the home team.
This week I asked Buffalo Rumbling’s writer Corey Giacovelli a series of questions leading up to the game, and I asked him who he thought the Bills’ ‘X-Factor’ would be. Here was his response:
My X-Factor for the game is cornerback Levi Wallace because of the pressure that will be on him to perform. James Washington has been putting up some fantastic numbers in the passing game the last couple of weeks especially in the vertical passing game. With talk of JuJu getting closer and closer to being ready to play that means he will be covered mostly by Tre’Davious White so Levi will have the tough task of keeping up with Washington. If Washington is able to get the edge on Wallace then the Steelers offense will have an easy time moving the football and scoring points.
I went a step forward and asked Corey which Bills player might be getting overlooked heading into the huge Sunday night contest. Here is what he had to say:
I am a big believer in special teams making such a difference in the game so i am going with returner Andre Roberts. I have been bringing him up week after week because he has been getting so close to returning one for six. A special teams touchdown can swing the momentum so much in a football game as the Steelers saw first hand last week after their punt return for a touchdown. If Roberts can spring one open it can be a game changer that can put the Bills over the hump.
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!