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 18 game vs. the Ravens?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: T.J. Watt
Why: The Steelers Week 18 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens is pretty much pointless for many fans. They don’t feel as if the team has any hope of the Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Indianapolis Colts and getting into the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to play for this Sunday. Outside of Ben Roethlisberger’s final game, more on that from Dave Schofield below, T.J. Watt has the opportunity to make history with the all-time single season sack mark in NFL history. If Watt can get to Tyler Huntley twice he would be both the official, and unofficial, sack king in NFL history. Call me crazy, but that is worth watching, and I hope we can all look back at this Week 18 game as not just Roethlisberger’s grand finale, but also the game where Watt made NFL history.
X-Factor: Ben Roethlisberger
Why: While Najee Harris would be an obvious choice, it will be difficult for Harris to win the game completely on his own. Add in other factors such as it being Roethlisberger‘s final regular-season game, as well as the Ravens being currently ranked as the NFL’s number one rush defense and 32nd in pass defense, then Roethlisberger is going to need to do enough to win the Steelers this game. He doesn’t have to go out on a 500-yard, six touchdown performance, Roethlisberger simply needs to do enough to outscore their opponent by one point. So ultimately, Big Ben is the X-factor one last time.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 18 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!