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Who is the Steelers X-Factor vs. the Browns Week 2?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to play the Cleveland Browns tonight at Acrisure Stadium in Week 2, and there are certain aspects of the game which can be difficult to predict. Of course, the outcome of the game is paramount, but there are players or position groups who could be viewed as X-Factors.

What is an X-Factor? That definition is an important part of this exercise. If I were to give you a player who was the ultimate X-Factor in Steelers history, it would be Troy Polamalu. Polamalu was able to take over a game almost single-handedly. Whether it being a tackle made where he looked like a heat-seeking missile, or a clutch interception. A game could tilt the Steelers’ way because of Troy.

With the definition out of the way, let’s see who are the X-Factors for the Steelers in Week 2:

Jeff Hartman

X-Factor: Kenny Pickett

Why: The loss was discouraging in Week 1 vs. the San Francisco 49ers, but the way Pickett played was downright debilitating. Suddenly, doubt has crept into the most loyal Kenny Pickett fans’ heads and they are wondering if he truly is the quarterback of the future. The Steelers offense needs a bounce back game, but no one needs the bounce back more than Pickett.

Every part of his game was subpar last week: accuracy, pocket presence, turnovers, etc. There is only one way to get people back in your corner, and that is to go out and play more like the quarterback fans saw in the preseason, and less like the happy-feet inexperienced quarterback fans witnessed last Sunday vs. San Francisco.

Yeah, this was an easy pick for me…Pickett is that guy this week. He’s the X-Factor, in my opinion.

Dave Schofield

X-Factor: Cam Heyward’s replacement

Why: I was very tempted to go with the Steelers edge rushers here, but I think this game comes down to the Steelers stopping the run. While the offense can do the defense a lot of favors by actually putting up points and playing with a lead, it could fall on the defense in order to slow down Nick Chubb. When looking at where the weaknesses could lie in that regard, I think it’s the multiple players and schemes the Steelers are going to have to use in order to replace their former All-Pro defensive tackle. This task does not lie on one particular player but on a group of players and coaches to come through in a big way and have an improved run defense.


Who is your X-Factor for the game? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.


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