Divisional Round 2023 Comparisons: Special Teams

Jan 8, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles place kicker Jake Elliott (4) lines up a field goal against the New York Giants during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the Eagles match-up with the New York Giants 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 Giants will field on Sunday.

Philadelphia ST | Jake Elliott, Brett Kern, Boston Scott, Britain Covey, Rick Lovato

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott went 20-for-23 in field goal attempts during the regular season with a long of 56-yards.  Elliott also nailed 51-of-53 PAT’s for the Birds’ in 2022-23. The highlight of the season came in the Week 18 finale against the Giants where Elliott buried five field goals to put the Birds in the win column.  In fact, outside of the Chicago game, Elliott was hir normal nearly automatic self.  

Brett Kern, who is entering his second month as the Birds’ punter, has been anything but spectacular.  The former All-Pro is averaging 40.8 yards per punt in his short tenure in Philadelphia.  That number is down nearly six-yards from his 2021-22 performance with Tennessee.  The injured Arryn Siposs was punting the ball at a 45.6 yard per punt clip before he went down in the Giants game.  
The Eagles return game has been anything but spectacular.  Boston Scott is averaging 27.1 yards per return on kickoffs and Britain Covey is averaging 9.3 yards per punt return.  Neither player has reached the end zone in the return game.  Any punt return where Covey doesn’t get obliterated is a small victory for the Eagles.

Giants ST | Graham Gano, Jamie Gillan, Gary Brightwell, Richie James, Casey Kreiter

Graham Gano has been since signing with the New York Giants.  The 13-year pro went 29-for-32 in the field goal department with a long of 57-yards in the regular season.  He was 32-for-34 on PAT’s for Big Blue.  

Giants punter Jamie Gillan had a mixed bag in 2022-23.  Gillan averaged 46.8 yards per punt –up nearly 3-yards from 2021-22– but the Giants punter found the end zone nine times for touchbacks.  
GaryBrightwell averaged 21.3 yards per kick return with no touchdowns in the regular season.  Punt returner RichieJames only averaged 7.3 yards per punt return in the regular season and also did not score. 


Call it a push.  

Both special teams units have been ho-hum during the regular season.  Elliott and Gano are proven kickers that either team should feel comfortable with if the game is on the line.  The rest of the special teams, is a “meh.”  They have to be on the field because NFL rules mandate a legal formation in order to snap the football. 


Michael Lipinski (@MLipinskiSports on Twitter) contributed to this article

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