X Factors  

Chevy  

Giants' Jacobs, Texans' Yates among Week 13 X-factors

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 big impact in Week 13:

Brandon Jacobs, Giants, RB: The Giants' bruising running back hasn't rushed for 100-plus yards since Week 14 of the 2010 season, but will need to be a factor to keep the Packers from unleashing their relentless pressure on Eli Manning. If he can soften the interior of the defense with a few hard-nosed runs to make Dom Capers respect the Giants' ground attack, New York can employ a ball-control approach that will keep Aaron Rodgers and Co. on the sidelines for most of the day.

T.J. Yates, Texans, QB: Yates is tasked with the challenge of keeping Houston's playoff hopes alive despite his lack of NFL experience. He showed flashes in his brief appearance last week, but the prospect of facing an aggressive Falcons defense with a full week to prepare for the rookie will certainly test his mettle. Although the Texans' stellar supporting cast will alleviate some of the pressure on Yates, he must manage the game while making a handful of precise throws to keep the offense on schedule. If he can avoid the big mistake and make a few plays from the pocket, the Texans will continue to maintain their lofty standing in the AFC.

Adam Jones, Bengals, CB: Once upon a time, Jones was considered one of the top young corners in the league before a series of off-field suspensions cost him valuable time on the field. After slowly rebuilding his game over the past year, Jones is beginning to regain his form and has stepped into the Bengals' starting lineup at right corner following Leon Hall's season-ending injury. Against a Steelers receiving corps that torched the secondary in their first meeting, Jones must hold his own in isolated matchups against Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. If he can limit the deep balls in his area and come up with a pivotal turnover, the Bengals could be in line to win a pivotal AFC North battle.

Nick Fairley, Lions, DT: The loss of Ndamukong Suh will thrust Fairley into a prominent role as their designated interior pass rusher along the line. Against New Orleans, he must consistently collapse the pocket and force Drew Brees off his sweet spot to disrupt the timing of the passing game. If Fairley can produce sacks, pressures and deflections from his defensive tackle spot, he will help the Lions' defensive front keep the game close and provide Matthew Stafford with an opportunity to win a shootout in the Superdome.

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Michael Roos, Leroy Harris, Eugene Amano, Jake Scott and David Stewart, Titans, offensive line: After being called out by Mike Munchak, the Titans' frontline paved the way for Chris Johnson's breakout game against the Buccaneers last week. With their confidence brimming, the Titans' offensive line must own the line of scrimmage to have success against the Bills. If they can give Johnson running room between the tackles, he can have another monster day as the centerpiece of the Titans' game plan built upon controlling the clock and wearing down opponents.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks

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