The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. It is the Steelers’ latest home game, and, hopefully their second victory.
When looking at the matchup between AFC/NFC 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 6 game vs. the Bucs?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Kenny Pickett
Why: Following Pickett’s grand entrance into the starting lineup vs. the New York Jets in Week 4, people were buzzing. Following the debacle in Buffalo in Week 5, many have become doubters as to whether Pickett possesses the skills necessary to be deemed a franchise quarterback.
My opinion doesn’t matter when it comes to Pickett, but I’ll say he can do a lot to help his case for those skeptical fans on Sunday. If Pickett can be stellar in areas like 3rd downs and the red-zone, throw a couple touchdowns and show he is capable of moving the football it would go a long way to silence the doubters. Will it end the debate? Absolutely not, but it will quiet those who love to parrot his stat line as a reason why he isn’t capable of wearing the crown of franchise quarterback.
If Pickett goes out and has himself a game, not only would it go a long way to him solidifying his stance as the team’s next “guy”, but it also will go a long way to the team pulling off an incredible upset.
Minkah Fitzpatrick Cam Sutton Levi Wallace Ahkello Witherspoon The Patchwork Secondary
Why: Yowzers. With me using players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick and Levi Wallace as the X-Factor in weeks past, and the fact that two more starters are injured and unable to play, the Steelers’ secondary is in a really bad spot. Four of their top five players will not play on Sunday as the only regular starter of Terrell Edmunds returns from missing last week’s game due to a concussion. Instead, the Steelers will be starting Josh Jackson, who until yesterday was on the Steelers practice squad. Does it mean that all hope is lost? Not necessarily. Whichever players take the field, from Jackson, James Pierre, Tre Norwood, or anyone else who would step in for the Steelers’ secondary, this is their moment to show what they can do in the NFL against arguably the best player to ever take the field. If one, or all, of these players can step up, communicate well, and shock the world, it will be what it’s going to take for the Steelers to stick around on Sunday. It’s time for the “next man up” to show he’s capable.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 6 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!