Raiders key matchup No. 1: Janikowski vs. Dawson

Raiders key matchup No. 1: Janikowski vs. Dawson
December 2, 2012, 5:19 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Browns matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the O.co ColiseumRaiders PK Sebastian Janikowski vs. Browns PK Phil DawsonTale of the tape
Janikowski (11): 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, 13th season, Florida State
Dawson (4): 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, 14th season, TexasALAMEDA -- With Cleveland's resurgent defense, which forced eight Pittsburgh turnovers last week, the Raiders having seemingly found some life in the second half at Cincinnati last Sunday, and a few days of rain threatening to turn the field into a quagmire, the game might be decided by the feet of the two best kickers in the AFC this season.Dawson, who spent part of training camp in 1998 with the Raiders and has been with the Browns since they were re-born in 1999, has made 27 consecutive field goals, the longest active streak in the NFL. He is 21-for-21 this season."I'm fond of the way he practices," said Browns coach Pat Shurmur. "I'm fond of the way he prepares and he's just clutch. There's some guys that are just clutch at doing what they do and I think that's what separates some guys from being great to good to not so good."He's displayed, by producing the way he does, that he's one of the great kickers."Earlier this season, Dawson tied a league record with three field goals of at least 50 yards and yes, Janikowski also shares the mark. He also has 15 career game-winning field goals and is Cleveland's franchise record in field goals made (297) and is second on the Browns' all-time scoring list (1,238 points).Janikowski, meanwhile, will be playing in his 200th career game after being the Raiders' first-round draft pick in 2000. The left-footed kicker is already Oakland's career-leading scorer with 1,355 points, thanks in part to his 315 career field goals.He has made 28 of his last 29 field goals, dating to last season, 23 of 24 this season, and the lone miss was a record-attempting 64-yarder at the end of regulation against Jacksonville this season. In fact, he has made 49 straight field goals from 40 yards or less and his 39 career field goals from 50 yards or more lead in the NFL since 2000.So how might the rain change Raiders coach Dennis Allen's thought process in how he'll use Janikowski, who shares the NFL record for longest field goal with a 63-yarder?"It affects everything," Allen said Friday. "Its going to affect how you call the game offensively, its going to affect how you call the game defensively, its going to affect what decisions you make in the kicking game. When it rains like it does today, and if the wind is, as I look at the forecast, if the winds what I anticipate it being it will be a factor in the game, for sure."Beyond Janikowski and Dawson potentially deciding the game, they could also determine Sunday who will represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl.