The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. It is the Steelers’ second home game of the season, and, hopefully their second victory.
When looking at the matchup between AFC rivals, 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 3 game vs. the Bengals?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Ben Roethlisberger
Why: There was a time when faced with the odds against him, Roethlisberer would rise up, and take the offense with him, and find a way to win. Those days seem far away, but Roethlisberger still is capable of rising to the occasion. Some argue Roethlisberger is better when banged up, and his pectoral injury to his non-throwing shoulder could provide the elixir for those who believe that kind of thing. I think Roethlisberger likes to have people counting him out, and no one is expecting much from him for the foreseeable future. If the Steelers want to move to 2-1, they’ll need Roethlisberger to show up big in a big situations vs. the Bengals.
X-Factor: Jamir Jones
Why: After playing a total of 16 snaps on defense the first two weeks for the Steelers, Jamir Jones is expected to get the start on Sunday and will need to eat up a lot of snaps. With only three outside linebackers active after the Steelers elevated Derrek Tuszka from the practice squad, unless the Steelers get creative with their other defensive players, Jones is going to get a lot of playing time opposite of Melvin Ingram. If Jones can get the job done, the Steelers will be in good shape. If not, it could be a tough day for the defense.
Patrick Judis (Cincy Jungle Contributor)
X-Factor: Joe Burrow
Why: Joe Burrow has to be the guy here. Last week it took too long for him to start getting the offense moving. Most of that has to do with play calling again.
This team goes how he goes. He needs the time to be able to throw and going empty was not the way to do it last week as the defense sat on his short routes. That can’t be repeated this week and Burrow needs to be allowed to cook.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 3 game at Heinz Field? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!