Super Bowl Matchups: Spec. Teams

In Part 8 of a series, we take a unit-by-unit look at Sunday's game between the Patriots and Giants. Neither team has a powerhouse special teams, though both have terrific kickers and quality punters.


Neither team possesses an explosive return game, with the Giants and Patriots placing more emphasis on ball security than big chunks of yardage. The Giants rank 29th in punt returns and 21st for field position following kickoff returns, and the Patriots are 16th in punt returns and 10th in field position following kickoffs.

Giants punter Steve Weatherford had 12 punts in the NFC Championship Game and was key in a field position game, while receiver Devin Thomas played a big role as the gunner who had a hand in a pair of turnovers that likely punched the Giants' ticket to Indy. Kicker Lawrence Tynes' mettle has been proven with a pair of game-winning kicks to send the Giants to Super Bowls. The Giants finished 17th in punt coverage and 17th in field position following kickoffs.

Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko doesn't have a ton of experience, but does have a big leg with good directional punting ability. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski is a former All-Pro with plenty of clutch kicks under his belt. Matthew Slater is New England's stud on the coverage units. The Patriots finished 13th in punt coverage and fourth in field position following kickoffs.


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