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In the Chiefs-Ravens game, the placekicker matchup will also be one to watch

In Sunday’s AFC Championship, Kansas City and Baltimore each have one of the league’s best placekickers.

Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

When the Kansas City Chiefs play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon, two of the NFL’s best will be matching up — with a trip to Super Bowl LVIII on the line.

And no... we’re not talking about Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes against Baltimore’s quarterback Lamar Jackson. Sunday’s AFC Championship will feature two of the league’s best placekickers, too.

“He’s kind of revolutionized that position,” Chiefs’ placekicker Harrison Butker said of the Ravens’ Justin Tucker before Wednesday’s practice. “He’s made a ton of massive, primetime game-winning kicks... it just looks effortless.

“You know, I was gonna say [there’s a] lack of effort — but I know he puts in so much time to his craft. It just looks so effortless when he’s out there.”

Tucker, who will represent the conference in this year’s Pro Bowl, is 32-of-37 on the year — and hasn’t missed an attempt under 40 yards.

But it’s Butker — who was left off the 2023 Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams — who has a higher conversion percentage this season. He’s drained 33-of-35 field goal attempts and has hit 100% of his extra-point tries.

“We’ve played the Ravens a couple of times throughout my career,” he said of Sunday’s matchup, “but I’m just trying to focus on making my kicks — and I’m sure [Tucker] is going to focus on making his kicks.

“And at the end of the game, hopefully, the best team wins — and hopefully, the Chiefs win — but I try not to look like that. I try to focus on myself and just do my best.”

The former Georgia Tech Yellowjacket is no stranger to big kicks. In this same game last year, he nailed a 45-yard attempt with three seconds remaining to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals and send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons. And then his 27-yard attempt in the final seconds of that game gave Kansas City its third Super Bowl victory.

“I always try to make every kick a big kick,” revealed Butker. “Practice, warm-ups, regular season game, preseason game… all the way to the Super Bowl or AFC Championship game… I try to make it a big kick so that when you do get in the moment where it actually is a big kick, you’re used to it; you’ve made a lot of kicks in that situation.”

We can’t help but believe that soon, Butker will be getting another opportunity for an actual big kick.

It's Game Time.

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