3 Green Bay Packers on the hot seat during the playoffs

Green Bay Packers
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2. Anders Carlson

The Packers remain patient with rookie kicker Anders Carlson. It's understandable. He is a first-year player, and they believe in his ability and potential long-term. However, Green Bay can't wait forever.

Carlson's rookie season has been a rollercoaster. He was perfect in the opening five games, converting all seven field goals and 10 extra-point tries. But it has been a rocky ride since then. In the past 12 games, Carlson has missed six field goals and a league-high five extra-point attempts. He has missed at least one kick in nine of those games.

The Packers beat the Bears in a must-win game, but Carlson had a brutal miss on a 41-yard field goal on the opening possession. Green Bay already trailed by three points, and the miss gave Chicago an opportunity to make it a two-score game in the first quarter.

Green Bay can't afford to waste opportunities against a high-scoring team like Dallas. Whether it's an extra-point attempt or kicking a field goal, Carlson needs to be on the money. He has the power to convert from any distance, especially indoors, but he has lacked consistency all season.

The Packers have stuck with Carlson, but this is a big game for the rookie. If he steps up to the occasion, it will help his chances of sticking around long-term. But if he puts in a bad performance, the Packers may need to consider other options at kicker.