The Detroit Lions are a very good football team - or at least they have all the right tools to be a very good football team.
They have two good running backs in Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. They have a very solid quarterback in Matthew Stafford. They have Superbowl winner Golden Tate as a number two receiver.
They have a top five NFL defense and they have Megatron - the best receiver in the NFL.
Atrocious field goal kicking
They also have one glaring weakness that needs to be solved ASAP. Five weeks into the season Lions kickers are 1 for 9 on field goals of more than 30 yards. That is an outrageously bad statistic and it has already begun to cost them.
The most obvious example of this came in the narrow 14-17 defeat to the Kyle Orton led Buffalo Bills. Instead of being 4-1 in the NFC North with clear water between them and their divisional rivals missed field goals means that the Lions are instead 3-2. level with Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers and only one win ahead of the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.
In truth the kicker position has been a problem for the Lions all season. Rookie Nate Freese had the job in week one and was highly tipped coming out of Boston College.
At the end of his college career he was “the school recorder holder for field goals and points” and he completed 86.4% of his attempts. After three weeks in the NFL though Freeze had missed four field goals and was, unsurprisingly, released by the Lions.
To replace Freese the Lions picked up Alex Henery from the Philadelphia Eagles. Henery has played two games for the Lions against the New York Jets in week four and the Buffalo Bills last week. He has five field goal attempts and has only succeeded in making one for a field goal completion percentage of 20%.
Obviously, this is not good enough. Fortunately for Jim Caldwell and the Detroit Lions there is a easy and quick solution to the problem. After serving a suspension for four games Denver Broncos Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater has been released by his team.
Prater holds the NFL record for the longest field goal after kicking a mammoth 64 yarder last season. More than this though, across his entire career Prater has completed 142 out of his 172 field goals. That's a completion percentage of 81.6% and on extra points he has a completion percentage of 99.2%.
Perhaps most impressive though is Prater's form last season where he completed 96.2% of his field goal attempts missing only once. A statistic that made him comfortably the best kicker in the NFL last season.
In close games having a kicker that makes the important field goals often makes the difference between victory and defeat. With the Lions having such a good chance of success this season they cannot afford to carry any weaknesses.
The Lions should pick up Matt Prater off the waiver wire.
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