X factor: Dustin Keller, Jets TE

Compared to his rookie season with the New York Jets, tight end Dustin Keller's numbers were worse across the board this year.

Fewer receptions, fewer yards, fewer touchdowns, more turnovers.

He virtually disappeared over the last seven regular-season games, catching 16 passes for 175 yards and no touchdowns. He lost a fumble.

Then came Saturday's playoff game and -- whammo! -- Keller reminded everyone why the Jets used a late first-round draft choice on him. They thought Keller could become a weapon, a pass-catching mismatch to open up the offense.

Keller caught three passes for 99 yards and a touchdown in the first-round postseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He also made the critical block to clear a path for Shonn Greene's 39-yard touchdown run.

Now that's an X-factor: a player capable of materializing almost out of nowhere and providing substantial contributions to victory.

"Here's a guy where everybody realizes what his strengths are: speed and the ability to catch the football," Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "He's a matchup problem for defenses."

Keller erupted a couple of times during the season. On opening day, he had four receptions for 94 yards to help the Jets beat the Houston Texans. In Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins, he had eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.

"He is a dangerous player," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "If you want to cover him with one guy, then surely we can exploit that. We have a lot of confidence in him. He’s a very dangerous type of athlete."