If David Akers can nail all three of his field goals in frigid, blustery weather, then shouldn't a couple of field goals in Glendale, Ariz. this Sunday be a, pardon the pun, breeze.
Akers extended his streak of consecutive field goals made in the postseason to 18 in last Sunday's 23-11 win in the Divisional Round against the New York Giants. In addition, four of his six kickoffs landed in the end zone.
"Dave had a solid game all around, I thought, both with his field goals and his kickoffs," special teams coordinator Rory Segrest said on Thursday. "He has a lot of confidence right now. He is going out and hitting the ball really well. He is a professional who goes out and tries to execute every time he goes out. He's doing a really nice job at this point."
This Sunday, as the Eagles play the Cardinals for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII, Akers will have the benefit of playing either in the warm desert air or a closed-in dome.
University of Phoenix Stadium has a retractable roof even though it will be in the upper 70s on Sunday afternoon. Segrest was under the impression that the roof will be open on Sunday. Akers said that you can kick a ball farther when the air is warm. However, with the dome the elements are not a factor at all.
"It has its benefits either way," Segrest said. "If it is closed, you don't have to worry about any wind conditions. I don't know if there's going to be any wind anyway. It's not supposed to be real high outside I don't think. If it is closed, you don't have to worry about that from that standpoint. There are advantages and disadvantages to both."
Even with all of the success that he has had in the postseason, every kick presents a different challenge for Akers. And with the NFC Championship on the line, every kick is that much more magnified. Akers' counterpart last week, Pro Bowl kicker John Carney of the Giants, missed two field goals which allowed the Eagles to seize and maintain momentum.
"Each kick is a tough kick," Segrest said. "You go out and it's obviously not a guarantee any time. Dave is hitting the ball very well. He is playing with a lot of confidence and he is going out and getting the job done for us. Obviously, we'd like to score those touchdowns, but at the same time, getting points on the board, especially in the playoffs, any time you can get them we'll take them."