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X-Factor for the 49ers vs. Steelers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 9, 2023 at 4:37 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are facing off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Week 1 showdown at Acrisure Stadium to kick off the 2023 NFL season, with defensive end Nick Bosa officially back with the team after signing a five-year contract extension earlier this week.

The 49ers enter the game as two-point favorites, dictating how close the game could be, as the over/under for points is only at 41, meaning oddsmakers believe it'll be a low-scoring game.

With several factors potentially changing the outlook of the game, who will be the 'X-Factor' for the 49ers against the Steelers?

Earlier this week, I pointed out my matchup of the week, highlighting Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson against the 49ers wide receivers after his confident comments earlier this week in earning an interception against quarterback Brock Purdy.

However, my 'X-Factor' of the week is, coincidentally, the man of the week: defensive end Nick Bosa, who's expected to play, despite re-joining the team only on Thursday.

Bosa is a game-changer for the 49ers, and in what I expect to be a low-scoring game, those matter even more.

But, his conditioning and comfortability in the new 49ers defense have yet to be seen this offseason, and he's the true question mark going into Week 1, although many expect him to just be his former self.

More importantly, the Steelers seem stronger on the interior of their offensive line with free-agent signing Isaac Seumalo and guard James Daniels, compared to their tackles, which is why Bosa's arrival changed my prediction from a 49ers loss to a win against Pittsburgh.

If Bosa is as advertised, he could be a true game-changer for the 49ers on Sunday, and potentially even a key reason why they win what could be a low-scoring game.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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