POSTED BY TIM VALENCIA
One of the most important aspects of kicking is confidence, and with the NFL playoffs being cut down to only eight teams, I have decided to rank the final 8 kickers in a new way that was shown on the radio show of Mike and Mike on ESPN.
Rather than an overall ranking, kickers will be ranked 1 through 8 in three distinct categories; Leg Strength, Accuracy, and Clutch/Experience. The kicker with the lowest cumulative score is the kicker I have the most confidence in to help his team win their playoff games.
Leg Strength- (Based on touchbacks, and long field goals during the 2011 season)
- Matt Prater Denver Broncos-1
- Mason Crosby Green Bay Packers-2
- David Akers San Francisco 49ers-3
- Billy Cundiff Baltimore Ravens-4
- Lawrence Tynes New York Giants-5
- Neil Rackers Houston Texans-6
- Stephen Gostkowski New England Patriots-7
- John Kasay New Orleans Saints-8
Prater has a supernatural leg when it comes to strength, as well as him having an advantage of playing in Denver, it makes sense for him to be ranked number 1st. Crosby made a 58 yard field goal this year along with 49 touchbacks this season so he comes a very, very close second. Akers has 47 touchbacks this year while having an amazing year in San Francisco, it also helps that he made a 55 yard field goal this year for a long. Billy Cundiff, comes in fourth, with 44 touchbacks and a long of 51. Lawrence Tynes comes in next with 34 touchbacks and a long of 50. Rounding out the last three are Rakers Gostkowski and the Immortal John Kasay.
The top four are a toss up as all completed around 85 percent of their kicks this year. John Kasay comes in at five due to his limitation on his range so he will be presented with more reasonable field goal attempts. Tynes and Prater follow up at 6 and 7 with their leg strength being the largest part of their game and accuracy playing a more secondary role. Following up is Cundiff at 8, Cundiff does have a very accurate leg, but he is coming back from an injury as well as he had a down year completing only 75% of his kicks.
This one might be the most difficult, but in an effort to be objective I have ranked based on career clutch kicks and postseason experience. Akers ranks 1st with a high amount of playoff experience including multiple game winning kicks and superbowl experience. Crosby ranks right behind him with clutch postseason experience in his very short career as well as a Superbowl ring from last year. After Crosby, Kasay is slotted in as he is the most experienced kicker as well as having playoff and superbowl experience. The next two; Tynes and Gostkowski both have Super bowl experience but Tynes gets the nod since he has a Superbowl ring. Finally, Cundiff and Prater, while both have plenty of game winning kicks but Cundiff gets the slight nod with more playoff experience.
After all the totals are added up the Kickers rank the following:
- Mason Crosby-5
- David Akers-7
- Lawrence Tynes-14
- Stephen Gostkowski-14
- John Kasay-16
- Matt Prater-16
- Neil Rakers-16
- Billy Cundiff-19
Not too much surprise here as Crosby is the Kicker that I have the most confidence in these playoffs, with David Akers with a close second. Only time will tell if these picks hold true.