Steelers vs Bengals X Factor: TJ Watt – NFL Sports

Every week, we prepare for our next game, the X-Factor of the Week. Sometimes it’s a player, unit, concept, or scheme. This is the X Factor for the Sunday match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

X Factor: TJ Watt

The X Factor can be more subtle, subtle, and ambiguous. This is not one of those times. The X factor is TJ Watt. He said it himself, He is now healthy to influence the game again. Now he has to do it.

And there is little doubt that he will. Watt has scored 12.5 in eight games, which is effectively about seven games, given the time he missed due to an injury during this year’s game. Pittsburgh was able to use his pass rush. In the third week with Bengals, the first full game they played without him, Joe Burrow didn’t even have to wash his jersey. Pittsburgh’s Saxtreak ended that day, partly because Barrow didn’t have to throw it. But when he did, he spent all day. Sack zero, QB hit zero.

Watt is playing this time. So is Alex Highsmith. Two of them need to bring heat. At this point, this is a pattern, not a one-off. The Steelers haven’t been rampant this year. Over the season, only one game has a blitz rate of 33%. 43.6% against Geno Smith and Seahawks. Barrow is not Smith.

Pittsburgh attacked Cincinnati at the first meeting with a 31.6% chance, but it needed more attacks to generate pressure because there was no major EDGE rusher. We expect that number to drop to about 20-25% this week, literally putting more pressure on Watts.

Unfortunately, Watt doesn’t get the joy of confronting Bobby Hart like he did in the last few years. It’s an overwhelmingly positive match for Watt and the guy. He seemed to really hate it. Instead, he will face the free agent Pickup Riley Raif, who seemed to be playing enough for them. But Watt can still win because he is … TJ Watt. He can beat anyone.

Steelers need watts this week. Maybe this season is more than any other season. The pressure is not enough or inconsistent enough and the pressure enters the tank when # 90 is in the field. Frankly, the numbers are jarring.

Pressure factor in watts on the field: 29.4%

Pressure factor without watts in the field: 19.9%

Almost 10% difference in pressure factor. And to be clear, they’re not just what Watt did, but the pressure of the team. His presence alone, and obviously he’s causing a lot of pressure (second only to Kamhayward on the team, and just because he’s hurt), but he opens up others. Because it orders and demands very aggressive attention.

His presence alone will be that Sunday afternoon. But Watt’s play needs to go beyond that. This game probably requires sack / forced fumble type play. This is your chance to win a turnover battle in a nearby AFC North contest. They are always so.

– NFL Sports

Steelers vs Bengals X Factor: TJ Watt Steelers vs Bengals X Factor: TJ Watt

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