3. Dustin Hopkins hits another 50-yard field goal
Last year, the Browns thought they solved their kicking dilemma for good when they used a fourth-round pick on LSU kicker Cade York. Known for his powerful leg, York was expected to be able to handle the tricky Cleveland weather with ease.
That wasn’t what happened though as York struggled mightily in his rookie campaign. The coaching staff continued to support him throughout the offseason and elected not to bring in any competition. The hope here was that their faith would turn into a boost of confidence.
Clearly, that didn’t work as York was a mess in the preseason. Cleveland wound up releasing him and added Dustin Hopkins in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Hopkins has since gone on to become the best kicker this franchise has seen in over a decade. Entering Week 8, he’s 16-of-18 on field goals and is 7-of-7 from 50 yards or longer. He even drilled three from beyond 50 against Indianapolis, including a 58-yarder.
That performance earned him his second AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award and set history with him being the first kicker to hit from 50-plus in five consecutive games.
Looking ahead to the meeting in Seattle, there’s no reason to believe Hopkins is about to cool off. That’s why this prediction is that he will make it six games in a row with a kick longer than 50.