Zoltan Mesko v Steve Weatherford

 Zoltan Mesko turned out to be a great draft pick for the Patriots in this past season's draft. Mesko averaged 43.6 yards per punt placing 19 of 58 total punts inside the opposition's redzone. His longest punt was a huge 65 yarder against the Baltimore Ravens. The cold weather has seemingly affected the kicker late in the season as he didn't have a punt over 50 yards in the final four games once the weather had hit.

Weatherford had a lower average than Mesko per punt at 42.6 yards but hit 50% of his punts into the opposition's redzone 42 of 84 total punts. Weatherford does not possess the leg of Mesko, his longest punt was 61 yards but his accuracy is outstanding. The 27 year old remained consistent throughout the year and wasn't bothered by the winter turn towards the end of the season.

 Mesko     Weatherford

   7/10                 9/10


Shayne Graham v Nick Folk

The kicking game isn't an area of strength for either team. Shayne Graham was always a consistent kicker during his time in Cincinnati but struggled during clutch moments and was eventually cut for missing too many game deciding kicks. The Patriots lost Stephen Gostkowski to IR earlier in the season and his presence may be a huge loss for the team.

Nick Folk is similar to Graham in that he is accurate but has lost his job at one stage for faltering at the big moment. Folk was the kicker for the Dallas Cowboys before being cut and then picked up by the Jets. The Jets stuck with him after some struggles during the regular season as he missed 9 field goals and were rewarded when he hit the game winner against the Indianapolis Colts in the previous round.

 Graham        Folk

     6/10                 7/10

Kick returner

Brandon Tate v Brad Smith

Brandon Tate has been a revelation for the Patriots as a kick returner this season. He possesses break away speed and has great quickness to elude tacklers. Tate had 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns this season and averaged 25.8 yards per return.

Brad Smith does not possess the same breakaway speed as Tate but is very elusive and understands how to free himself using his teammate's blocks. Smith scored 2 touchdowns this season and ran back six 40+ run backs. His average was an outstanding 28.6 yards on a huge 50 returns.

  Tate        Smith

    7/10                 8/10

Punt returner

Julian Edelman v Santonio Holmes

Edelman had only 21 opportunities to return punts this season but proved himself to be one of the most dangerous in the league at the role. Edelman scored 1 touchdown and 4 returns longer than 20 yards. He averaged a huge 15.3 yards.

Santonio Holmes did not have many opportunities to return punts during the season as Jim Leonhard filled that role before going on IR late in the season. Jerricho Cotchery is listed as the starter here but Holmes is the most dangerous returner the Jets have. He has proven before that he is a big game performer with a return for a touchdown in the '08 playoffs against San Diego.

 Edelman      Holmes

    9/10                  9/10

Special Teams:
Patriots- 29/40

(part 6/8)