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Cowboys vs. Jets: Nick Folk Comes Up Big, but Can He Be Trusted?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Nick Folk #2 of the New York Jets celebrates after he kicked a successful 50-yard game-winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
John EwenContributor IIISeptember 12, 2011

After a slow start, the New York Jets pleased the home crowd at MetLife Stadium last night in a 27-24 victory against the Dallas Cowboys. If the NFL gave players win loss records like the MLB does with pitchers, Jets kicker Nick Folk would be off to 1-0 start.

Gang Green made a 14 point comeback in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 26-yard end zone strike from Mark Sanchez to Plaxico Burress and a Joe McKnight punt block returned for a touchdown by Isaiah Trufant. With the game tied at 24 with under a minute to go, Dallas QB Tony Romo was picked off by Darelle Revis, giving the Jets the opportunity for an emotional win on the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The opportunity was taken advantage of as Folk knocked in a 50-yarder with 27 seconds left in regulation, and got New York off to the right start in the 2011 campaign.

But before we start labeling Nick Folk a hero, can we look at the numbers?

Yes, he was two for two in field goal attempts yesterday, with a 34-yarder in addition to his game winner. Even so, in his last 22 games, he's only hit 34-for-50. Inside the 40-yard line, he's 28-for-33. Folk had his moments last year, as in moments fan would like to forget, most notably his 2-for-5 showing in Cleveland.

Folk watches his kick go off target in a Week 4 matchup against the Bills in 2010.
Folk watches his kick go off target in a Week 4 matchup against the Bills in 2010.Rick Stewart/Getty Images

When I think of dominant kickers (or once dominant), I think of names like Vinatieri, Janikowski and Gostkowski. Maybe it's because his last name ends in a letter other than "I," but Folk isn't on this list.

Not that anybody is claiming Folk as Mr. Accurate after Sunday's win.

The truth is the Jets need to score so that the game doesn't have to come down to Folk's leg. With a passing game containing Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller, this team shouldn't have trouble finding the end zone. Their defense is good enough that they should keep opponents out of a three point score. But that again goes back to the first point: They need to score.

While I'd like to think Folk may be reliable this season, it's only a matter of time until he misses a big kick that could result in a loss.

Yes, every kicker is bound to miss a field goal here and there, but Folk may be needed to win games late—something I'm not too confident about.

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