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Eatman: New PAT Rules Won't Be Felt Right Away, But During Playoff Stretch

IRVING, Texas -  Something tells me we're going to be sitting around in Week 5 of the upcoming season and talking about how this next extra-point rule hasn't really changed at all?

Kickers are still making the kick from 33 yards out instead of 18 and most teams are choosing to opt for the one point instead of the two-point conversion like we've seen in the past. I bet there will be some occasional two-point plays run here and there earlier in games, but I would also guess teams with shaky kickers and field-goal units will occasionally go for the two points as well.

We'll be cruising along in the 2015 season and by Thanksgiving, heading into December, extra points will start to affect games.

My prediction – at least a dozen games in 2015 across the league will be decided by either a missed extra point or the decision not to kick it because it's not so automatic.

My next prediction – most of those games will occur in December.

If you're a Cowboys fan who thought something like, "*Our guy Dan Bailey is nearly automatic from 50 yards out, so this change is nothing to sweat …" *you're probably closer to being right. Bailey is pretty steady and likely won't miss any extra points.

Bailey is 38-of-40 on field goals from 30-39 yards. He's missed one from that range in each of the last two years. And just to point out, Bailey made all 179 of his career extra-point attempts before this rule change.

But along with this new rule, let's not forget the schedule this year or the division the Cowboys play in. This team goes to Buffalo, Green Bay and Washington, all in the final month of the season. It's hard to know what kind of opponents the Cowboys will face this late in the year. Even a team like the Packers could be different than we expect.

What's pretty easy to predict is the fact things will be rather cold in both Buffalo and Green Bay, and probably Washington. That's just a safe hunch.

And where there is cold in December, there's usually wind. We saw last year that Bailey wasn't the same kicker in Green Bay that we've seen earlier in the season.

Routine extra points in cozy AT&T Stadium won't be the same in Buffalo on Dec. 27.

And obviously, that's a concern for the rest of the league as well.

I've gone back and forth on this issue, somewhat thinking the Cowboys have an edge here because Bailey is one of the better kickers in the league. Then again, most kickers will make 33-yard field goals, and if they don't, they won't be in the league too long.

The biggest thing here, and this is exactly what the league wanted, is that it no longer will be a complete gimme play.

Especially in the final month of the season and into the playoffs.


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