When New England Patriots rookie kicker Chad Ryland lined up from 35 yards out, both Patriots fans and Giants fans alike held their collective breaths.
Despite the high stakes hanging on Ryland's right foot, Giants safety Xavier McKinney felt confident about the outcome.
"I felt like (Ryland) was going to miss. I think he was a little nervous. I was trying to talk to him before he actually kicked it. It was good to see him miss it. It was good to see us get a win."- Xavier McKinney
Ryland's jitters are to be expected for a rookie kicker facing a lot of pressure. But luckily for Ryland, the Giants-Patriots game was less about winning and more about fighting for seeding in the Caleb Williams and Drake Maye sweepstakes.
After Ryland's kick sailed wide left and the remaining Week 12 results thus far, New England holds the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Giants now sit sixth overall.
The 10-7 loss at MetLife Stadium extends the Patriots' losing streak to four games, while New York has put together consecutive wins for the first time since Weeks 4 through 7 of last season.
A young kicker is always going to face some obstacles as they transition to the NFL level, especially on the mental side of things, but the Patriots tanking this year means Ryland has some wiggle room. We can ride out the ups and downs that come with his transition to the pros and can focus more on making sure the kicker we traded up for is showing the development needed to be a long-term answer at the position.
Ryland is now 12 of 18 on field goals this season. In spite of his struggles with the field goal unit, he is a perfect 14 for 14 on extra points. Would we have been better off with Nick Folk (22/23 on field goals and 17/17 on extra points in Tennessee) this year? Well that depends on whether you think "better off" means winning an extra couple games or means getting a better draft pick.
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