The Road To MetLife Stadium: Matt Prater And Stephen Gostkowski Give Broncos And Patriots Great Confidence In AFC Championship Game

When the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, both teams know that they are just one more win away in their quest on The Road To MetLife Stadium. A victory will push the Broncos or Patriots into Super Bowl XLVIII against either the Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers. In a close game, which many experts are right in calling for, the Broncos and Patriots both know that they are on firm ground if it comes down to the kicking game. That is because they have two of the steadiest field goal kickers in the entire NFL. That even holds true if the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

In fact, according to Stats.com, Matt Prater of the Broncos and Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots may even be hoping to brave the colder temperatures on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. After checking out what they have done in sub-40 degree temperatures, you will fully understand why.

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’m working as part of the Road to MetLife Stadium Preferred Blogger Program. Throughout the year I’ll be receiving special access to MetLife events and be conducting reader giveaways, with prizes provided by MetLife and Sony Electronics. However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own.

According to Stats.com, Prater has made 17 of his last 18 field goal attempts in sub-40 degree games. Whether or not the thermometer will dip below 40 degrees on Sunday remains to be seen, but Prater will have absolutely no issues if this does turn out to be the case. Furthermore, Prater has converted his lone career game-winning field goal in sub-40 degree temperatures. That came in 2009 at home in an overtime game.

For those who are wondering, it came against the Patriots.

Of course, Gostkowski is actually better in sub-40 degree temperatures, dating back to December 2011. The Patriots’ field goal kicker has made his last 16 field goal attempts in games where the temperatures drop below 40 degrees. It is worth noting, however, that all 16 of his makes and attempts have come at home. New England will be on the road in Denver on Sunday afternoon.

If this game is like so many of the contests that have featured Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, it will likely come down to the wire. With that being said, it could come down to the kickers. If it does, you can count on the fact that both Prater and Gostkowski will be more than ready.

Especially if it gets colder throughout the game!

Either way, one team is going to Met Life Stadium as the AFC representative in Super Bowl XLVIII, while the other will watch their season end. Will Prater or Gostkowski be the ones responsible for getting the Broncos or Patriots to MetLife Stadium?

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About the author

Rob Kelley is a former sports reporter for various newspapers in Florida, and is trying to break back into the sports writing game after a brief hiatus following the publishing of his first book, I'm Not a Quitter. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24.