New York Jets At New England Patriots: Comparing the Special Teams

New York Jets

Kicker - Nick "What The" Folk - Folk hit a patch of inconsistency in the middle of the season but hasn't missed a kick in the Jets last five games, including hitting the game winner last week against the Colts. Regardless, I don't think you'll be seeing Rex send him out there for any more 50 yard attempts. It is hard to feel entirely comfortable with him but he should be good enough to handle anything under 45 yards on Sunday.

Punter - Steve "Shake Weight" Weatherford - Weatherford has quietly put together a terrific season. The Jets botched a few attempts to down punts inside in the 5 yard last week but he has been money at pinning teams deep. Beyond that, he is a decent enough athlete so don't be surprised if the Jets dust off a fake this week. Don't expect that fake to be called by Weatherford on 4th and 17 however.

Kick Return - Antonio "No Prophylactic" Cromartie - I fully expect Cromartie to be put back on kick returns because there is no way Brad Smith is 100 percent coming off a groin injury last week. The Jets need to save Smith for their Wildcat package. Cromartie is one of the most gifted open field runners in the NFL and has the ability to break one, even with the smallest crack on the coverage. Beyond that, he can create something out of nothing. Yes, I have been waiting my whole life to use "prophylactic" in an article.

Punt Return - Jerricho Cotchery - I have seen enough of Santonio Holmes and his "let me see how close I can get to touching the ball without actually touching it" antics. Cotchery is reliable and will go north/south on returns.

New England Patriots

Kicker - Shayne "Shank" Graham - I don't care if he is 12/12 on the regular season. I remember Graham missing two chip shots as a member of the Bengals against the Jets in the playoffs last year. Don't tekk me that won't be on his mind this week. Can you say "wide left?"

Punter - Zoltan Mesko - No nickname needed, the rookie has been solid for the Patriots this year. However, the Jets have got to New England's punters in the past and this will be his first playoff game.

Kick Return - Brandon Tate - A dangerous returner. The Jets have to stay disciplined on their coverage units to contain him. I doubt Nick Folk will have the distance on his kicks that he did last week.

Punt Return - Julian Edelman - Another dangerous returner with the ability to break one at any moment (he has a 94 yard return this year for a touchdown). However, I don't think you will see the Jets kicking away from him.

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Advantage - Jets - I trust Mike Westhoff's unit to come up with a big play or two this week. Don't be surprised to see a fake punt this week.

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