When looking at the matchup between inter-conference 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 10 game vs. the Lions?
Let’s take a look...
Ben Roethlisberger Mason Rudolph
Why: As if I need to type why Mason Rudolph is the X-Factor, but I will anyway. With Ben Roethlisberger on the Reserve/COVID-19 List and out for the game Sunday, the job of leading this offense to points will fall on Rudolph. Sure, conventional thought states the team will lean on Najee Harris, but if the Detroit Lions do what they should, they stack the box and force Rudolph to beat them through the air. While I feel Rudolph can make enough plays to beat the Lions, he will have to make key plays in key situations for this to happen. Hence why he’s the X-Factor for me this week.
X-Factor: Cam Heyward
Why: Sometimes it’s more than individual play on the field. The reason Cam Heyward is the X factor for the Steelers this week, other than the fact that Jeff already used Mason Rudolph, is because he is the leader on the team. With Ben Roethlisberger out, the defensive captain needs to rally the troops on both sides of the ball, inspire them play to their level that they’re capable of, and take care of business at home against a still inferior opponent. Add in the fact Cam Heyward is really, really good, he will also help drive this defense that needs to do their part even more so than they have been called to do in 2021.
Mike Payton (Pride of Detroit)
X-Factor: D’Andre Swift
Why: It’s D’Andre Swift. Since Jared Goff seems to be incapable of doing anything with his arm, his pro bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson has been pretty ineffective. Swift can not only run the ball, but he’s the best receiving running back in the NFL based off the stats. He can cause a lot of trouble for defenses. Sadly for him, the Steelers seem to be one of the best run stopping defenses in the league this season.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 10 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!