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Wild Card Round Comparisons: Special Teams

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Leading up to the Eagles match-up with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here.

In this edition of our week-long comparison, we will look at the special teamers that the Eagles and Seahawks will field on Sunday.


Philadelphia ST | Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Boston Scott, Rick Lovato

Elliott started the season as one of the best kickers in the league, going 14 for 14 on field goal attempts and 21 for 23 on extra points through 11 games. He has struggles down the stretch however, going 14 for 14 on extra points, but just 8 of 12 on field goal attempts. That totals out to 22 of 26 on field goal attempts and 35 for 37 on extra points. He's been good from short range, but missed four of 11 attempts from 40 or more yards out and two of four from 50 or more. He gets a touchback on 64% of kickoffs.

Cameron Johnston averages 46.4 yards per punt, which has fallen from the 47.8 mark he had going into the game against Seattle during the regular season. He has pinned opponents inside the 20 on 39.4% of punts and gotten a touchback on 5.6%.

Boston Scott took over the kick return duties in week 11 and has averaged 22.9 yards per return. His biggest return has been for 33 yards, but he has certainly showed big-play ability when he can get in open space.

Normally there isn't much to cover with long snappers, but Rick Lovato provides an excellent special teams coverage guy (note that he is the one making the tackle in the image at the top of this article) and was selected to the 2020 Pro Bowl. While the Pro Bowl is typically very biased with fan voting and says more about popularity than play, Lovato is a long snapper and was therefore selected by his fellow special teams players around the league as the best in the NFC.


Seattle ST | Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Lockett, Tyler Ott

Myers has been a similarly reliable kicker from short distance. While he is 23 for 28 for field goals on the season, he is just six for 11 from 40 or more yards out and two for four from 50 or more. On extra point attempts, he is 40 for 44. His kickoffs result in a touchback just under 70% of the time.

Dickson has averaged 45.1 yards per punt and has pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 45.9% of the time. His punts have resulted in a touchback 6.8% of the time.

While Lockett is a playmaker, he his longest kickoff return of the season was 33 yards and he has averaged just 19.9 yards per return in 2019. That would come in 39th out of 51 players that returned any kicks this season.


Edge

At kicker, Jake Elliott has been the better option with both extra points and field goals.

Dickson has a lower punting average than Johnston with higher touchback and pinned in 20 rates, indicating that he has been asked to flip shorter fields than Johnston for most of the season. Still, a pinned in 20 rate that is 6% higher is impressive and would give Dickson the edge.

Despite Scott not having a game-defining return like Miles Sanders did earlier in the season, he has proven to be a better option than Lockett to return kicks in 2019.

Rick Lovato, according to the rest of the special teams players in the league is the best in the NFC and it would be silly to argue with that.

The Eagles take this grouping winning three of the four match-ups.



  QB RB WR/TE OL DL/LB DB ST
Eagles - -
Seahawks - - - - -

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