In playoffs, expect the unexpected

Hall of Fame résumé: The NFL's oldest active player, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, turned 41 on Dec. 28. As the season and his career wind down, Vinatieri keeps compiling enough stats to build his case as to why he should become the second kicker in NFL history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Vinatieri is the most prolific postseason scorer in NFL history with 196 points, is in the top 10 in scoring in regular-season history and has plenty of big, long kicks.

Most important, Vinatieri made what may have been the greatest kick in NFL history -- a 45-yard field goal in a blizzard to tie a divisional playoff game against Oakland and send it into overtime, where he won it for New England with a 23-yard field goal.

When the stakes have been greatest, Vinatieri has been most clutch. He will have the chance to be that way again Saturday, when Indianapolis hosts Kansas City.

As the Hall of Fame selection committee once considered the candidacy of another worthy candidate, one voter asked, "Could the history of the league be written without him?" With Vinatieri, the answer is no.

It is the biggest reason he deserves to be the second player who was strictly a kicker inducted into the Hall, following Jan Stenerud.

The Schef's specialties

Game of the Week:  49ers at Packers -- Two Super Bowl-caliber teams playing on the frozen tundra in Green Bay.

Player of the Week:  Bengals QB Andy Dalton -- Time for Dalton to throw his first postseason touchdown pass and win his first postseason game.

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