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 11 game vs. the Bengals?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Offensive Line
Why: I was tempted to put Kenny Pickett here as my X-Factor again, both out of superstition and hope he has one of those memorable games. Nonetheless, the fact is if the Steelers are going to have any amount of sustained success in 2022 it will be because of the offensive line. The line being able to protect Pickett to give him time to deliver passes downfield, and to open holes for the running backs.
When you break it down this way, the team will go as far as the offensive line will take them. In this case, vs. the Bengals, they will have to impose their will on the Cincinnati defensive front to show the Week 10 output wasn’t just a blip on the radar, but a sign of things to come.
X-Factor: Defensive Line
Why: I know it seems like I’m just mirroring Jeff’s selection, but this actually has a lot more to it. I honestly feel the biggest X-factor in this game is not for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but their ability to stop the Bengals biggest X-Factor. For me, that player this week is Joe Mixon. Once Ja’Marr Chase has been out, when Joe Mixon gets going the Bengals look great like they did last game against Carolina. If Mixon doesn’t get going, much like when they played the Browns, the Bengals really struggle. So if the Steelers defensive line can do the job in bottling up Mixon, it will go a long way in the Steelers pulling off the victory.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 11 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!