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Dave Toub on Chiefs-Ravens kicker matchup: ‘It’s a game within the game’

When Baltimore hosts Kansas City for the AFC Championship, two great placekickers will face each other.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

Two of the league’s best placekickers will be on the field at M&T Stadium this Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

The Ravens’ Justin Tucker is an elite, Pro-Bowl caliber player who has been with the team for 11 seasons. Across from him, the Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker has drawn comparisons to Tucker through his seven-year career.

“They’re both great kickers, obviously,” Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub said of Butker and Tucker on Thursday — although he admitted some bias for “my guy.”

Still, Toub had high praise for Tucker, calling him “outstanding.”

“When you watch him,” said Toub, “he’s just so pure in everything he does — and consistent — and [has a)]strong, strong leg. It’s just amazing — and he’s been doing it for such a long time.”

This has also been a strong season for Butker, who collected his fifth AFC special teams player of the week award in 2023. While noting that Butker admires his adversary, Toub believes the Georgia Tech veteran remains focused on himself.

“If you start thinking about what [Tucker’s] doing,” he explained, “there’s no sense in that, really; they’re not really going against each other.”

Weather is a potential factor for Sunday’s game — but that’s something Toub will evaluate on game day, calling it a “game-to-game” decision.

“We go in and we really evaluate… during that day that you’re there,” he said, “so it’s always different.”

While Kansas City is currently the underdog against Baltimore, the point spread is narrow — and Toub anticipates that special teams could play a pivotal role in the outcome.

“We know we’ve got our hands full,” he declared. “It’s going to be a great challenge. It’s a game within the game.”

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