Power Ranking the Best Punters Remaining in the NFL Divisional Round
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It's time to give punters some love during these NFL playoffs.
Nothing is going to be more critical than the kicking game. He who can punt the ball the farthest will decide the game for his team.
OK, so that's an overstatement, but you can't discount how a effective a good punter can be.
Field position is a very big commodity during any game. It becomes even more vital during the pressure cooker that is playoff football.
Pinning a team deep makes it very hard to drive the length of the field. Conversely, if a punter shanks one, then the team receiving could be looking at a short field.
Here's where each remaining punter stands this divisional round.
8. Zoltan Mesko, New England Patriots
New England Patriots P Zoltan Mesko
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When you have Tom Brady, the punting game can be a bit of an afterthought.
Let's be honest here. Just about anyone could be the punter for the New England Patriots, and the team would hardly miss a beat.
Zoltan Mesko's 30 punts on the season ranked 29th in the league.
Mesko can pin an opposing offense deep, but he lacks elite power.
7. Tim Masthay, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers P Tim Masthay
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Where Tim Masthay lacks in power, he makes up for in accuracy.
His average per punt wasn't spectacular (43.5 yards), as he only ranked 27th in the league. However, Masthay tied for seventh on punts inside the 20, with 30 on the season.
Colin Kaepernick hasn't been tested in the playoffs. Giving him a short field would allow him to build his confidence with early scoring drives.
Masthay did very well in the Wild Card Round against the Minnesota Vikings, hitting three punts inside the 20-yard line.
6. Matt Bosher, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons P Matt Bosher
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When you have Matt Ryan as your quarterback, the punter is a bit more superfluous.
Matt Bosher was tied with Zoltan Mesko at 29th in the league with only 60 punts during the regular season.
Russell Wilson is the only rookie left in the playoffs. Sav Rocca of the Washington Redskins wasn't able to pin him deep, and as a result, Wilson had a very good game.
The more Wilson is able to get comfortable with a short field, the greater the chances the Atlanta Falcons will be going home for good.
5. Sam Koch, Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens P Sam Koch
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It's going to be Sam Koch's responsibility to give Peyton Manning as much of a disadvantage at the start as possible.
The Baltimore Ravens are the biggest underdogs of the weekend, as they're matched up against Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Manning will likely have his way against the Ravens secondary, so it's important that Koch set the QB back deep. He hit 28 punts inside the 20-yard line, which was tied for 13th in the league.
4. Britton Colquitt, Denver Broncos
Broncos P Britton Colquitt
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Forget about the Mannings. The Colquitts might be the most dominant family in the NFL.
Seriously, though. Britton Colquitt is just following the family tradition. His father, Craig, won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his brother, Dustin, is headed to the Pro Bowl this year for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Britton might not be as good as his brother, but he still has quite a bit of talent. He ranked in the middle of the league in both punting average and punts inside the 20.
3. Donnie Jones, Houston Texans
Houston Texans P Donnie Jones Pictured on the Left
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Going up against the New England Patriots, it's vital to give Tom Brady a consistently long field to have to deal with.
That part of the Houston Texans game plan will be up to Donnie Jones.
He wasn't called upon often during the Texans' win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round. He'll likely have more action during the divisional round.
Jones has a good combination of power and accuracy. Houston will need that considering they're massive underdogs this weekend.
2. Jon Ryan, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks P Jon Ryan
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Much like Zoltan Mesko, Jon Ryan wasn't called upon often during the regular season. He only attempted 65 punts, landing him at 27th in the league.
When Ryan did get his leg on the ball, he did very well.
His 45.6 average isn't intimidating, but Ryan showed major accuracy, with 30 punts inside the 20.
1. Andy Lee, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers P Andy Lee
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Andy Lee has a cannon for a right foot. He wasn't the best in the league, but he was very close.
The San Francisco 49ers have one of the best defenses in the league, so it's appropriate they would have a good punter to match it.
Lee averaged 48.1 yards per punt during the regular season, fifth in the league. He also showed an ability to place his punts as well, landing 36 inside the 20, which was good for third in the league.
San Francisco doesn't want to make things any easier for Aaron Rodgers than they have to be. Pinning him deep would make moving down the field very difficult.