NFL Playoffs: Ranking the Kickers

Patriots’ K Stephen Gostkowski is Weatherproof

Random position to rank but year in, year out, kickers are some of the most important players in determining the outcome of games – both in the regular season and playoffs. Without further ado, here’s my completely amateurish rendition of kickers rankings for the playoffs this  year.

(Player, Team – FGM/FGA, XPM/XPA, Points)

12. Shayne Graham, New Orleans Saints2/2 FG, 7/7 XP, 13 pts. – The Saints have the kicker with the least amount of anything this season and that’s not a particularly good thing, not heading into Philadelphia with snow in the forecast.

11. Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles – 23/28 FG, 45/45 XP, 114 pts. – Luckily for Henery and the Eagles, their offense is clicking right now so extra points are the norm. Connecting on 82.1% of your attempts is not good.

10. Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs22/28 FG, 52/52 XP, 118 pts. – Succop sucks, straight up. He’s two for his last five but is playing in a dome this weekend against the Colts. Will Succop benefit from the generous playing conditions?

9. Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals18/22 FG, 52/53 XP, 106 pts. – Nugent’s attempts are real low compared to other kickers and I’m not sure there’s much faith in a guy with only 22 attempts in 16 games.

8. Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers34/37 FG, 42/42 XP, 144 pts. – All three of his misses have come between 30-39 yards and his long is a mere 50 yards. He won’t have the luxury of kicking in sunny San Diego. Snow is in the forecast Sunday in Cincinnati.

7. Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers24/27 FG, 42/42 XP, 114 pts. – No disrespect to the job he’s done but he’s got a career field goal percentage of 78.0%. He has the luxury of a home game (13/13 FG at home) but has never really made kicks when it mattered in postseason play.

6. Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers – 32/36 FG, 44/44 XP, 140 pts. – Kicking a football at Lambeau Field on Sunday will be similar to kicking a frozen loaf of bread, I put Dawson here. Sure he kicked in some crappy weather in Cleveland for 14 seasons, but still — San Fran and Green Bay are on different levels.

5. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers33/37 FG, 42/42 XP, 141 pts. – A career field goal percentage of 78.7% (2nd lowest among active players), Crosby kicks in one of the least friendly environments come playoff time though he does crank it up (10/12 FG) in the postseason.

4. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts35/40 FG, 34/34 XP, 139 pts. – I know, it seems like he’s been in every single playoff game since like 1996, but he’s now 40 and plays for a dome team. If they win, they’ll have a road game in a crappy weather city (I am aware he played for New England for years) but 4 of his 5 misses on the year were on the road.

3. Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks33/35 FG, 44/44 XP, 143 pts. – Dude is perfect in his career in the postseason (3/3 last year vs. Washington) and he’s been perfect in the third and fourth quarter this year. He’s got range (long of 53 yards) and is 14/15 from 40+ yards including a perfect 3-for-3 from 50+.

2. Matt Prater, Denver Broncos25/26 FG, 75/75 XP, 150 pts. – Yes he plays for the best offense in the history of the game, yes he’s only missed one time this year (from 52 yards), yes he’s got home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. He’s still number two because his miss last year cost them at least a chance at overtime against the Ravens.

1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots38-41 FG, 44/44 XP, 158 pts. – The highest scoring kicker in the league, Gostkowski is as good as it gets. He’s made nine straight attempts in the postseason but was prone to long misses this year (all three misses were from 40+ yards). Oh, and he hasn’t missed in the 4th quarter or overtime (16/16) this year.

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