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 14 game vs. the Ravens?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Offensive Line
Why: The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has a tough challenge ahead of them in Week 14. The Baltimore Ravens’ defense is an interesting enigma. They are the league’s second-best rushing defense, only surrendering 82.5 yards per game on the ground, but their pass defense seems to be their Achilles heal. Baltimore surrenders 248 yards through the air, but their pass rush has been active with 37 sacks on the season. Likewise, the Steelers have surrendered 32 sacks this season.
What this boils down to is the importance of the Steelers’ offensive line. Not only will they have to pave the way for the running game, something they’ve been doing extremely well since the bye, but they’ll have to keep Kenny Pickett upright and give him time to deliver the ball downfield. Without time, exploiting the Ravens’ chief weakness would become a non-factor.
Let’s hope the offensive line shows up, and shows out.
X-Factor: Devin Bush
Why: There are a number of things the Steelers defense needs to do against the Ravens, and Devin Bush could be a big factor in several of them. First, the Steelers have to slow down the Ravens’ rushing attack. One way to do that is to minimize the rushing yards by the quarterback and Devin Bush might be the guy who can come through in this manner. If not, he may be in coverage against tight end Mark Andrews who is their biggest threat in the passing game. So whatever Bush will be tasked with, it will likely be one of they main keys in slowing down the Ravens’ offense.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 14 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!