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Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski Explains Kicking in Different Altitudes

If you ask the typical football fan about kicking the ball in Denver, they might point out that the higher altitude makes it easier to kick the ball further. It's why a lot of the kicking records have taken place at Mile High and why the Broncos are one of the cushier jobs.

But for visiting kickers, Denver offers an interesting psychological challenge that might fly under the radar.

"One of the best tips I've gotten was from [former Special Teams Coordinator] Scott O'Brien, because he coached in Denver and he would see every other team come in there," kicker Stephen Gostkowski said. "I think the problem you can fall into is the idea that you can kick the ball off further, which will make you go out there and try to hit a home run every time. And you know what happens when a guy tries to hit a home run every time? They swing and miss a few times.

"So, knowing that the ball is going to go a little further, or it can go further, you still have to hit a good kick. They don't give you extra points if you make a 50-yarder that goes over the net. You still have to make a good kick, and you still have to keep it straight."

Gostkowski set his career-long 57-yard field goal against the Cowboys this season, and his 2nd longest field goal, the 54-yard game winner against the Giants, also came this season. But don't expect the Patriots to put their First Team All Pro kicker on the field for 60-yard attempts.

"Just because it's perceived to be easier doesn't necessarily make it true," Gostkowski said. "There are some times where I go to a dome and I go into a dome game thinking, 'There's no way I can screw up in a dome.' But you still have to go out there and execute the kick and the play."

The Patriots are going to need every point they can get against the Broncos and Gostkowski is going to be responsible for his fair share if New England is going to reach the Super Bowl.