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Akers providing boost with touchbacks

At the age of 36, David Akers is kicking more touchbacks than he ever has in his 12-year career with the Eagles.

turned 36 earlier this month, but he's showing no signs of slowing down.

In his 12th season with the Eagles (and final year of his current contract), Akers is actually improving in certain aspects of his game.

He got some recognition for his perfectly-executed onside kick in Week 15 that was key in the Birds' 38-31 comeback win against the Giants. Overall, Akers has been his steady self as a field-goal kicker and has shown improvement on kickoffs.

Let's start with field goals. Akers has hit 85.7 percent of his attempts, which ranks 11th in the NFL. But for Akers personally, it would be his fourth-best percentage in 12 seasons. Akers had that strange game against the Falcons in Week 6 where he went 1-for-4. But since then, he's converted on 23 of 24 (96 percent) attempts.

Where I really noticed the difference in his numbers, though, was the kickoffs. The Eagles have kicked touchbacks on 24.72 percent of their kickoffs; that's the sixth-best percentage in the NFL. And it's an unusually high number for Akers. He's kicked touchbacks on 22 of 89 kickoffs. Akers' previous high for touchbacks was 17 in 2008. That was also his previous high percentage (19.1 percent). Here's a chart of Akers' kickoffs over the years:

As you can see, he's improved this aspect of his game. According to Football Outsiders,

» READ MORE: the Eagles rank seventh

in kickoffs. That's not kickoff coverage, just the kick itself.

Considering that the Eagles' defense is dead-last in the league in the red zone (opponents have scored touchdowns on 76.92 percent of their trips), Akers' improvement on kickoffs could provide a boost come playoff time.

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