Week 1 NFL Picks: Kickers Who Will Lead Teams to Opening Victories
Kicker might be the most thankless position in the history of sports. It's all the credit or all the blame for the sport's most specialized position.
But NFL games are won and lost on the leg of the great ones, and there will undoubtedly be marks left on the game by guys who only come between the white lines for two or three plays.
This weekend, both upset-minded teams on the road and clutch kickers at home will have a chance to give their team a victory, either by connecting on field goals when the offense stalls or being the hero at the end of the ballgame.
Here are three guys that will fall into that category on Tuesday morning.
Josh Scobee, Jacksonville
The Jaguars kicker parlayed his franchise tag into a four-year contract that makes him one of the highest paid kickers in the history of the league.
It's time to earn his keep.
On the road in the dome at Minnesota, it's unclear if Adrian Peterson will play and Minnesota has question marks all over the field. It's prime time for Blaine Gabbert to show improvement and hope that MJD is ready to roll.
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
The big-footed lefty has done his job over and over again in Oakland, since the offense is never any good, and he's forced to take long field goals more often than not.
His Week 1 status was in doubt after a preseason injury, but it looks like he'll be ready to go on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers.
This year, I think he'll do much of the same, but from a much better position. Uncertainty surrounds the Oakland offense. Can Darren McFadden stay healthy? What Carson Palmer are we going to see?
Put me down for San Diego to struggle against the Oakland defense and Janikowski to put in two field goals, one late, to start the season off right in the Bay area.
Garrett Hartley, New Orleans
He beat out John Kasay for the job in 2012, after missing all of 2011 with a hip injury. What better storybook start to this year than a game-winning field goal at home amidst the Saints' bounty victory earlier this weekend?
Getting Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith back this weekend is big. But I don't think it's enough to anoint the Saints with an easy victory against RGIII and the Redskins. The coaching staff isn't all back yet, and in the NFL it's hard to win without a steady coaching situation (see Jason Campbell).
Hartley boots a long field goal on his way to three of them, and what ends up being the game winner in a Saints scare.
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