Written and Ranked by Harley Schultz
1. Stephen Gostkowski @ NYG
This game matches the top scoring team in football versus a team that has allowed 30 points per game to their opponents over the last three weeks. This includes allowing 30 points to opposing kickers over that span. Stephen Gostkowski leads the NFL in field goals, extra points, and total kicker points. He hasn’t posted fewer than nine points since Week 1. Plus, he hasn’t missed any kick at any point this season.
2. Connor Barth vs. DAL
No kicker has been hotter recently than Connor Barth. Since Week 5, Barth leads the league in field goals and he is second to only Stephen Gostkowski in total kicker points. Over that span, he has four consecutive games with at least three field goals and he has averaged 12 points per game. Barth lines up perfectly this week with a Dallas team that has allowed the fourth-most field goal attempts. This includes allowing nine of ten field goals of their own since that same Week 5.
3. Chandler Catanzaro @ SEA
What happens when the leagues’ second-best offense locks horns with the leagues’ third-best defense (and best at home)? Well, the easy answer is a lot of scoring opportunities that fail to achieve their desired result. In Seattle, opponents have scored touchdowns on a league low 25% of their red zone visits. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals rank second to only New England in terms of red zone visits per game. If Carson Palmer cannot finish the deal against this studly defense, Chandler Catanzaro should see many attempts to put up points. Due to their offense being so successful this year, Catanzaro has been very active with extra points averaging four attempts per game. Recently, he has also been active in the field goal game hitting multiples in four of the last five games.
4. Blair Walsh @ OAK
This preseason all the talk in Minnesota was whether or not the Vikings would figure out a way to rid themselves of Blair Walsh and his contract. His repeated failures during training camp, the preseason, and the early weeks of this year fueled the fire like adding kindling to the hearth. Fortunately for Vikings fans, Walsh has gotten past his yips having missed only one kick in his last four games, while kicking two game-winners. Over that four game stretch, he has 13 field goals to go along with an 11 point per game average. This is a beautiful time for Walsh to be heating up because Oakland has allowed the second-most field goal attempts and they are tied for the most successful field goals allowed. This includes multiple successful field goals in every game thus far, and three or more successful kicks in half of their contests.
5. Brandon McManus vs. KC
Brandon McManus is tied for the league lead in successful field goals and his team is tied for fourth in field goal attempts per game. He also is five for six from beyond the 50-yard marker. A lot of leagues offer bonus points for those long kicks and he gets the benefit of kicking half of his games in that extra thin Mile High air. Kansas City has allowed multiple field goals in three of their last four contests. This comes in stark contrast to their season numbers, where they previously couldn’t keep anyone out of the end zone. Over the last three weeks, they actually lead the league in opponent red zone scoring percentage. Thus the increased number of field goal tries by their adversaries.
6. Josh Brown vs. NE
Teams are usually forced to abandon their field goal option against New England in an attempt to stay with them point for point. This explains why only three teams have multiple field goals against them this season. Josh Brown currently is tied at the top of the field goal charts with 19, but he also ranks fourth in terms of extra points converted. This puts him second overall in kicker points and makes him a safe play even if the Giants are forced to go extra point for extra point instead of three-spot for three-spot. Only twice all season has Josh finished with fewer than seven points, and he is currently averaging nine points per week overall.
7. Caleb Sturgis vs. MIA
Philadelphia’s offense has been kicker friendly now for the last two seasons. In 2014, they finished fourth overall in field goal attempts as Cody Parkey had a remarkable rookie campaign. Caleb Sturgis has taken the mantle following Parkey’s injury securing multiple field goals in four of his five games en route to a nine point per game average. Miami has allowed multiple field goal attempts in five of eight games, but only once in the last four weeks since their coaching change. This also coincides with Miami’s defense going into the outhouse. Over that same four week period, they are allowing over 26 points per game, including allowing 31.7 points per game over the last three.
8. Chris Boswell vs. CLE
Since Week 5, Chris Boswell ranks fourth in successful field goals and sixth in overall kicker points. Not bad for a guy who was the third option for a Steelers’ team that was hemorrhaging at the position prior to his signing. The Browns have allowed an average of more than nine points per game to opposing kickers dating back to Week 3. This lays solely at the feet of their allowing multiple field goal attempts in all but one of those contests. With Big Ben out this week, I fully expect Pittsburgh to move the ball but stall out more frequently. This should equate to a fair amount of opportunities for Boswell to continue to prove his worth.
9. Justin Tucker vs. JAX
Justin Tucker is tied at the top of the field goal ranks with 19 and only one other team has more field goal attempts per game this year than Baltimore. This sets up nicely for Tucker because only two teams have allowed more field goal attempts per game than Jacksonville. This includes their allowing three or more field goal attempts in six of their eight games. This game has the third-highest line right now despite injuries to key components on both offenses. If they are going to reach this point total, they may need to rely even more than usual on kicker scoring.
10. Robbie Gould @ STL
After averaging 8.6 points per game over the first seven weeks, Robbie Gould has gone out and missed three of his last five field goals over the last two games. St. Louis provides a very tough defense and potential headaches for Jay Cutler and crew. They are allowing the fewest touchdowns per game and the fifth-most field goal attempts per game. Expect more of the same this week since the Bears are tied for the second-fewest touchdowns scored and the fourth-most field goal attempts. Now we just need Gould to start making these kicks again.
11. Graham Gano @ TEN
Graham Gano has quietly averaged 11 points per game over his last three contests. This has been aided by the fact that the Panthers are quietly averaging the fourth-most points per game. If you had asked me who was ranked fourth in scoring this year, I definitely wouldn’t have guessed Carolina. In fact, I’m not sure they would’ve been amongst my top ten guesses. Somehow Tennessee managed to get through the first five weeks without allowing a field goal attempt. Since then, opponents are still only four of six against them on field goal attempts. Fortunately for Gano, they still are giving up six kicker points per game over that stretch.
12. Stephen Hauschka vs. ARI
Stephen Hauschka has multiple field goals in five of his last six games and six of eight games on the season. This has led to him averaging more than 8.6 points per game. Arizona has been very random and hit-or-miss against opponents as far as kicker points allowed go. In three games, they allowed 37 points to the position, but in the other five games they allowed only 18 points. Further dropping Hauschka this week is that he has missed five of his last 12 field goal attempts against Arizona.
13. Mason Crosby vs. DET
Only two teams are allowing more extra point attempts than Detroit. They also have allowed multiple field goal attempts in five of eight. This includes allowing a perfect ten for ten on field goals over the last three weeks. Mason Crosby hasn’t had nearly the field goal volume that he has posted the last couple years. Making matters much worse, he hasn’t approached his extra point average from last year either. This game should be a get healthy game for a Green Bay offense that has been in neutral the last two weeks. If they cannot jump start things against Detroit, this offense will be in for a long second half of the season.
14. Mike Nugent vs. HOU
Houston is allowing nearly twice as many points per game on the road this season than at home. Mike Nugent has been anything but automatic this year posting only a 79% success rate on field goals. Fortunately for him, things have improved recently as he has gone eight of nine over his last four games. He also can take solace in the fact that Cincinnati is scoring a lot of touchdowns (they rank third), which has helped him keep his per week scoring average above seven.
15. Cairo Santos @ DEN
Denver has arguably the strongest defense in football. This week however they may be without their top cornerback and one of their best pass rushers. I’m not saying that this will solve all of Kansas City’s woes against them, but it should provide at least a smidgen of shade to the Chiefs’ offense. They will need any advantage they can find to move the ball against Denver before they ultimately stall out. For his part, Cairo Santos has averaged over eight points per game and he has 16 field goal attempts over the last five weeks. Unfortunately for Santos, he has missed on three of those 16 attempts.
Jason Myers @ BAL
Jason Myers’ kicking has been scarier than any movie starring either of his namesakes (Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers). So why would I recommend him this week? Only because Baltimore has allowed more field goals and attempts than any other team this season. They have allowed three or more attempts in six of their eight games, and only once all season have they allowed fewer than eight points to the position.