X-Factors  

 

Haynesworth, Eagles backup QB could be real difference-makers

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Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 11:

Albert Haynesworth, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DT: It is a shame that the former two-time Pro Bowl selection has failed to live up to his reputation as a dominant playmaker, but injuries and the lack of depth along the Buccaneers' defensive line have given him another opportunity to shed his underachiever label. Against Aaron Rodgers and a Packers offense capable of blowing up the scoreboard, Haynesworth must re-emerge as the disruptive force that overpowered opponents during his time in Tennessee for the Buccaneers to get a win.

Vince Young, Philadelphia Eagles, QB: The creator of the "Dream Team" moniker that has haunted the Eagles might get a chance to lead the team in a must-win matchup against the New York Giants. Although Young is not fully comfortable with the nuances of the offense, he must find a way to be productive and efficient in the passing game to generate points for the Eagles. If he can connect on more than 60 percent of his passes with a couple scores and a few nifty scrambles, Young could help Philly pull off a surprising upset in New York.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals, TE: With A.J. Green potentially sidelined with an injury, Andy Dalton might turn to his trusty tight end to anchor the passing game. Gresham, the Bengals' second-leading receiver with 29 receptions, is a big target capable of doing damage between the hashes against a Ravens defense that will routinely vacate zones on blitzes. With Baltimore poised to bring a ton of pressure in an attempt to rattle the young quarterback, expect Gresham to have several balls head in his direction this weekend.

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Brandyn Dombrowski, San Diego Chargers, OT: Marcus McNeill's potential absence puts Dombrowski in line to start at left tackle. In spot duty against the Oakland Raiders a week ago, he allowed four sacks to Kamerion Wimbley and now faces a stiffer test against Julius Peppers this week. While Norv Turner will attempt to use a tight end or running back to help Dombrowski, his new left tackle will need to hold up in isolated matchups when the Bears decide to bring pressure. How well he fares in those one-on-one situations could have a significant impact on the Chargers' ability to win.

Roy Helu, Washington Redskins, RB: The revolving door at quarterback puts an immense amount of pressure on the Redskins' running game to carry the offense. Helu has been effective as a runner during spot duty but has become a bigger factor since stepping into the starting lineup. Against a Cowboys' defense that will bring pressure from all over to rattle Rex Grossman's cage, Mike Shanahan might decide to feature Helu as a runner/receiver to alleviate the pressure on his quarterback. If Helu can give him some consistent production in both aspects, he could help the Redskins stick with a ball control approach that limits the Cowboys' offensive opportunities.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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