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 8 game vs. the Eagles?
Let’s take a look...
X-Factor: Kenny Pickett
Why: The doubters are out in full force for No. 8 after the two interception fourth quarter vs. the Miami Dolphins in Week 7. There is only one way to silence those doubters, and it isn’t just a game without an interception.
It has to be a moment. Something tangible which fans see what Pickett truly possesses as the potential “guy” for the Steelers moving forward.
Pickett hasn’t had that moment yet, but he’s had plenty of opportunities. He’s had opportunities vs. the New York Jets when he entered the game at halftime, and again on Sunday Night Football. Both of those moments ended in a thud with back-breaking interceptions.
Want to get the doubters off your back, at least for a week? Go into Philadelphia and put up a performance to remember.
X-Factor: Devin Bush
Why: In 2021, Philadelphia Eagles fans were furious about how the offense never attacked the middle of the field (sound familiar?). In 2022, part of the reason the Eagles are off to such a great start, aside from leading the league in turnover differential, is their offense is now attacking the middle of the field. Of course, it does help adding a player such as A.J. Brown. If this is where they are going to attack, the players who defend this area are going to need to step up. Terrell Edmunds, when on the field, has the defense looking completely different than when he was absent. But part of what allowed the Steelers to shut out the Dolphins in the second half last week was defending the middle of the field. For that, I am looking to Devin Bush. If Devin Bush can be an asset and not a liability in the Steelers pass defense with players coming across the field, the Steelers defense could be very troublesome for Philadelphia. If not, it could be another very long day.
Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 8 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!