The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12. It is the Steelers’ latest road game, and, hopefully their fourth victory.
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 12 game vs. the Colts?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Najee Harris
Why: There won’t be Jaylen Warren in the Week 12 Monday Night Football game, and this means it will be a 2021 type of workload for Najee Harris. This could be a good thing, but it could also be a bad thing. It all depends on how Harris is running Monday night.
The good news is Mason Cole doesn’t have an injury designation, which means his foot injury is well enough for him to play. Having all five of the Steelers offensive line ready and available is huge, and opening holes for Harris will be a must if the Steelers want to escape Indianapolis with a win.
Balance will be key for the Steelers, and their ability to get Harris going early and often will lighten the load on rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. If they can do that, the offense will have everything available to them.
X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Why: Although the “strength on strength” matchup is the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor versus the Steelers defensive front, it might be the “weak on weak” matchup that is a bigger factor in the game. The Colts passing attack has struggled this season, and the Steelers pass defense is currently ranked the last in the NFL. For that reason, if Minkah Fitzpatrick, now a game removed from his return from his appendectomy, can come up with a big splash play for the Steelers, it very well could be the difference in the game.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 12 game Monday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!