Prater will turn 33 years old when the 2017 season starts, but as the team's official website contends, the 10-year veteran doesn't look to be slowing down at all. Prater connected on a career-high 31 field goals this past season, which ranks as the third-highest single-season total in team history behind Jason Hanson (34 in 1993 and 32 in 2012). For the year, Prater made 33 of 38 field-goal attempts (including the playoffs) and all but two of his 33 extra-point tries. Indeed, Prater looks to be getting stronger with age. He made six game-winning or game-tying kicks, and his seven 50-yard-plus field goals made was a career single-season high, surpassing the six he made in Denver in 2013. Prater has one more year left on his contract but looks like he has a lot of life left in that powerful right leg of his. That being the case, expect Prater to be plenty busy again this season playing alongside Matthew Stafford and within OC Jim Bob Cooter's productive offense.
Matt Prater 2016 Outlook
Prater set a Lions record when he made a 59-yard field goal in the team's Week 17 game against the Bears. Prater, who made an NFL-record 64-yarder two years ago with the Denver Broncos, broke Jason Hanson's franchise record for longest field goal in Lions history. Overall, however, Prater wasn't a strong fantasy option last year as he scored the 22nd most points among fantasy kickers. As CBSSports.com explained, that was primarily because the Lions' offense didn't give him a lot of field goal opportunities. Prater made 22 of 24 field goals on the season for the Lions. But his ability to hit from distances beyond 50 yards is worth noting for those rewarding kickers for those attempts. Prater hit 5 of 6 from that distance last year. Adding to the intrigue? Although he averaged 1.5 attempts per game, that number was nearly two per game following the team's switch to Joe Bob Cooter as OC last year.
Matt Prater 2015 Outlook
While most NFL kickers are just fine with the longer-distance PATs they’ll be dealing with this season, Prater had a different view. “I just feel that eventually they are just trying to weed kicking out of the game completely,” he said. “It’s something we’ll have to deal with and hopefully make them all.” As ESPN.com notes, Prater has not had many issues with 33-yard field goals in the past, making 13-of-14 field goals from either 32 or 33 yards away during his career. Meanwhile, with a new, three-year deal in Detroit, Prater is hoping to prove that he’s better than the kicker who went 21-of-26 after a rusty start with the Lions last October. Prater’s 80.8 percent on field goals ranked 24th in the league and paled in comparison to his 96.2 percent (25 of 26) conversion rate in Denver in 2013, which was best in the NFL. But Prater closed 2014 by making 9-of-10 field goals. Look for a better season in 2015.