One of the new features that EA Sports have introduced is superstar and X-Factor abilities. These make elite players stand out by giving them certain boosts in different scenarios.
Superstar abilities are always on for a number of players as long as the situation is right. Players like Julian Edelman have a Slot-O-Matic ability that gives him a boost from the slot while Damon Harrison is a Run Stopper and has a quicker shed & tackle when engaged by run block.
These are all well and good, but the real gold lies with the X-Factor abilities.
Only a handful of the very best players have these, but they vary and need to be unlocked during games to get the players "in the zone". Once players are in the zone it can be hard for opponents to live with them, but players can be knocked out of the zone too, so you have to keep playing well to retain these abilities.
What are these abilities, and how do you unlock them?
Pro Reads, Gambler, Blitz Radar, Fearless, Bazooka
There are 5 different quarterback X-Factors, and they can hold one of the halfback ones too. These are all powerful abilities.
Pro Reads will highlight the first open receiver with a big electric red border to their receiver icon. This is excellent for new players, but it is important to bear in mind that while it will highlight the first open player that receiver is not necessarily your best option, especially in long yardage situations.
Gambler is a superb ability that means you can't be intercepted by AI defenders, and only one QB has this amazing ability.
Blitz Radar will highlight extra blitzers after the snap to make it easier to spot threats and know when to get the ball out quick.
Fearless makes it much easier to stand in the pocket and deliver as it means throw accuracy is unaffected by defensive pressure.
Bazooka is another one owned by just one quarterback and it increases max throwing distance by 15+ yards.
Double Me, RAC 'Em Up, Max Security
Receiver X-Factors are often triggered by catching multiple passes of a certain distances (for exact activation requirements see the table below).
Double Me is pretty OP and allows receivers to win aggressive catches against single coverage.
RAC 'Em Up, as the name suggests, has to do with running after the catch. It allows receivers to win RAC catches against single coverage which will often add big yardage afterwards.
The final Receiver X-Factor is Max Security which increases the success rate of possession catches.
Freight Train, Satellite, First One Free
While it is a ball carrying X-Factor, Freight Train is actually only owned by one quarterback. It increases the chance to break the next tackle attempt.
Satellite is one for receiving backs as they win RAC & possession catches vs single coverage.
First One Free increases the fakeout rate for the next juke, spin, or hurdle move which means making a solo tackle is almost impossible.
Pass Rush X-Factors
Unstoppable Force, Fearmonger
These two pass rush X-Factors can really throw off an offense.
Unstoppable Force means that pass rush wins lead to quicker block shedding, giving them a faster path to the quarterback.
Fearmonger increases the chance to pressure a quarterback even while engaged with a blocker, and that pressure leads to an decrease in QB accuracy.
Shutdown, Zone Hawk
There are two coverage X-Factors and they play to if you are in man or zone coverage. Shutdown provides tighter coverage along with more interceptions on contested catches.
Zone hawk creates more catch knockouts and interceptions in zone coverage.
This one is for the run-supporting safeties. It gives them a higher chance to defeat run blocks and disrupt catches.
Here is what you need to do to activate each players X-Factor ability.
|Khalil Mack||LOLB||Chicago Bears||99||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Bobby Wagner||MLB||Seattle Seahawks||99||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|Aaron Donald||RDE||Los Angeles Rams||99||Fearmonger||2 Sacks|
|DeAndre Hopkins||WR||Houston Texans||99||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Julio Jones||WR||Atlanta Falcons||98||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Luke Kuechly||MLB||Carolina Panthers||98||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|Antonio Brown||WR||Oakland Raiders||98||RAC 'Em Up||3 20+ yard catches|
|Von Miller||LOLB||Denver Broncos||97||Fearmonger||2 Sacks|
|Patrick Mahomes||QB||Kansas City Chiefs||97||Bazooka||Complete a 30+ air yard pass|
|Todd Gurley||HB||Los Angeles Rams||97||First One Free||Rush for 10+ yards 3 times|
|JJ Watt||LDE||Houston Texans||97||Fearmonger||2 Sacks|
|Odell Beckham||WR||Cleveland Browns||96||RAC 'Em Up||Make 3 20+ yard receptions|
|Travis Kelce||TE||Kansas City Chiefs||96||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Fletcher Cox||DT||Philadelphia Eagles||96||Fearmonger||2 Sacks|
|Jalen Ramsey||CB||Jacksonville Jaguars||96||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|Tom Brady||QB||New England Patriots||96||Pro Reads||Make 3 consecutive passes for 5+ yards in the air|
|Earl Thomas||FS||Baltimore Ravens||95||Zone Hawk||Force 2 incompletions|
|Michael Thomas||WR||New Orleans||95||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard catches|
|Philip Rivers||QB||Los Angeles Chargers ||94||Fearless||Make 3 consecutive passes for 5+ yards in the air|
|Ezekiel Elliott||HB||Dallas Cowboys||94||First One Free||Rush for 10+ yards 3 times|
|Stephon Gilmore||CB||New England Patriots||94||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|Harrison Smith||SS||Minnesota Vikings||94||Reinforcement||Force 2 incompletions or TFLs|
|Adam Thielen||WR||Minnesota Vikings||94||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Zach Ertz||TE||Philadelphia Eagles||93||Max Security||Catch 4 consecutive targets|
|Richard Sherman||CB||San Francisco 49ers||93||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|Melvin Gordon||HB||Los Angeles Chargers||92||First One Free||Rush for 10+ yards 3 times|
|Andrew Luck||QB||Indianapolis Colts||92||Pro Reads||Make 3 consecutive passes for 5+ yards in the air|
|Calais Campbell||LDE||Jacksonville Jaguars||92||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Le'Veon Bell||HB||New York Jets||92||First One Free||Rush for 10+ yards 3 times|
|Drew Brees||QB||New Orleans Saints||92||Fearless||Make 3 consecutive passes for 5+ yards in the air|
|Eddie Jackson||FS||Chicago Bears||91||Zone Hawk||Force 2 incompletions|
|Geno Atkins||DT||Cincinnati Bengals||91||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Myles Garrett||RDE||Cleveland Browns||91||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Mike Evans||WR||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||91||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Byron Jones||CB||Dallas Cowboys||91||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|Saquon Barkley||HB||New York Giants||91||First One Free||Rush for 10+ yards 3 times|
|Christian McCaffrey||HB||Carolina Panthers||91||First One Free||Make 3 10+ yard receptions|
|Cameron Jordan||LDE||New Orleans Saints||91||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Russell Wilson||QB||Seattle Seahawks||91||Blitz Radar||Scramble for 10+ yards 3 times|
|AJ Green||WR||Cincinnati Bengals||90||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Chris Harris||CB||Denver Broncos||90||Shutdown||Force 2 incompletions|
|George Kittle||TE||San Francisco 49ers||90||RAC 'Em Up||Make 3 20+ yard receptions|
|Aaron Rodgers||QB||Green Bay Packers||90||Gambler||Make 3 consecutive passes for 5+ yards in the air|
|Alvin Kamara||HB||New Orleans Saints||90||Satellite||Make 3 10+ yard receptions|
|DeMarcus Lawrence||LDE||Dallas Cowboys||89||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Joey Bosa||LDE||Los Angeles Chargers||88||Unstoppable Force||2 Sacks|
|Derwin James||SS||Los Angeles Chargers||88||Reinforcement||2 incompletions or TFLs|
|Juju Smith-Schuster||WR||Pittsburgh Steelers||88||Double Me||Make 2 20+ yard receptions|
|Ben Roethlisberger||QB||Pittsburgh Steelers||85||Pro Reads||Make 3 consecutive passes for 5+ yards in the air|
|Cam Newton||QB||Carolina Panthers||84||Freight Train||Rush for 10+ yards 3 times|