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A sneaky part of the Vikings matchup can go in NY Jets’ favor

Greg Zuerlein, NY Jets, Stats
Greg Zuerlein, New York Jets, Getty Images

A Jets weakness has now become a net strength, while the Vikings still languish

During the 2022 preseason, I wrote the following lines as part of a poem about a certain New York Jets positional battle:

Ficken, Castillo, McLaughlin

It became somewhat funny

The Jets kicking disaster

That was 2020


But wait! There’s more

In 2021

Ammendola, Kessman, Pineiro

Joined into the fun


Where will it doink next?

The groans filled the air

A touchdown’s only six

When a Jet kicker’s here


This was only a marginal exaggeration to describe the Jets’ comically sad kicking situation ever since the departure of Jason Myers following the 2018 season.

In 2022, though, the Jets have found a steadying force. You never want to jinx a kicker, the football equivalent of a relief pitcher, but Greg Zuerlein has been mostly excellent. He is 18-for-22 on field goals and 24-for-25 on extra points. Importantly, he is a perfect 7-for-7 on field goals from less than 40 yards, and he’s 5-for-7 on kicks from 50+, including two 57-yarders that have tied a Jets record.

Minnesota, though, cannot say the same about their kicking woes, which seem to persist. From Gary Anderson’s 39-yard miss in 1998 to Blair Walsh’s 29-yarder in 2015, the Vikings seem to have a proclivity for devastating field goal failure.

This season, Greg Joseph has been one of the worst kickers in the NFL. He has missed five of his 29 extra point attempts and another five of his 21 field goal attempts. It’s not as bad as it looks, as Joseph is a perfect 15-for-15 on kicks from less than 50 yards; however, 1-for-6 on kicks from 50+ just won’t cut it in today’s NFL, particularly for someone who kicks in a dome for at least half his games.

The Jets have had more luck than usual in field goal rates against them this season. Opposing kickers are 11-for-17 on kicks vs. the Jets this year, a 73.9% rate that is the fifth-worst against all teams in football. In fact, one of the Jets’ biggest win probability swings on a single play this season was Jason Sanders’s 54-yard field goal miss in Week 5 to preserve the Jets’ 19-17 lead over Miami.

In a game that could be a barn burner, field goal kicking may be the difference. The Jets have to feel good about their chances should that happen.

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1 year ago

This is such a jinx, you just know that Greg the Leg is going to miss a game-winner on Sunday now. I’ll come back and blame you.

Jim G
1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

You can’t even catch a break from your family.

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

Will you two cut it out with the Hijinks !!! lol Just kidding.