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Identifying the X-Factors for the Steelers in Week 4 vs. the Bengals

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

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 at Heinz Field. It is the Steelers’ second 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...

Defensive X-Factor: DE Stephon Tuitt

Tuitt has been a one-man wrecking ball throughout the first three games of the 2019 season, and this will have to continue for a Steelers defense struggling to gain ground in the consistency department. Maybe this is the torch being passed from Cameron Heyward to Stephon Tuitt, or maybe Tuitt isn’t gaining as much attention as Heyward. Either way, this defense needs a hero, and Tuitt might just be the man for the job when it comes to run-stuffing and rushing the passer.

Offensive X-Factor: Offensive Line

Call this a cop-out, but if the Steelers want to win this football game, they have to dominate the line of scrimmage...something they haven’t done yet this season. What happened to the offensive line of the past three years? Where did the punishing run blocking and amazing pass blocking go? Either way, the offensive line better step up in Week 4 if the Steelers want to post their first win of the season,

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

This has to be Ross. If he can catch these passes designed to go his way then this offense can glide down the field. This staff looks at him as more than just a speedy decoy to get other players opened, and that is a huge reason he is third in receiving yards for the entire NFL.If he struggles than it could be another pretty slow start like Cincinnati had against Buffalo last week.

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!