When looking at the matchup between AFC 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. the Jets?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Mitch Trubisky
Why: While some might suggest the offensive line or Najee Harris as the X-Factors on the offensive side of the ball, to me it’s Trubisky. No one has as much to gain, or lose, from this game vs. the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium. If Trubisky is able to go out there and prove his worth with solid play and putting points on the board, the clamoring for Kenny Pickett will subside. However, go out and have another performance like he did vs. the New England Patriots the last time the Steelers were at home in Week 2, and the team might have no other choice but to turn the page from the free agent acquisition.
That’s a lot of pressure on a player, but fans will know whether Trubisky is going to sink, or swim, early in the game Sunday in Week 4.
X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Why: Last week I felt Minkah Fitzpatrick would be the X-factor, and apparently so did the Cleveland Browns so much so they avoided him at all cost. The question is, with the Jets not being nearly as familiar with the Steelers as teams like the Browns, will they employ the same strategy? Will Zach Wilson, playing in his first game of 2022, constantly look to the opposite part of the field of where 39 is playing? Can the wily safety bait the young quarterback into making a throw in which he is looking to make the splash play? Because of all of these questions, Minkah Fitzpatrick is the most influential player on the Steelers defense right now. The only question is if the Jets will employ a similar strategy as the Browns, or if they’ll attempt to challenge Fitzpatrick and he makes them pay.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 4 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!