Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/6/12

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 12: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 12, 2009 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 10-6. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The key matchup in this weeks season lidlifter between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears won't be found on either offense or defense. In fact, the time that these two will be on the field together will likely account for one or two per cent of the total plays of the game, yet the outcome of those few plays will go a long way toward deciding the ultimate victor.

The Colts bring to Chicago one of the league's best punters in Pat McAfee. McAfee and his "boomstick," as he affectionately refers to his kicking leg, will face the challenge of the NFL's all-time leader in return touchdowns in Devin Hester.

Hester earned the nickname "Anytime" while at the University of Miami because even then he was a threat to go the distance any time he got his hands on the ball. As a pro, Hester hasn't done anything to diminish that reputation. In just six NFL seasons, Hester has shattered the record for punt return touchdowns. His 12 scores have caused many opponents to simply kick the ball out of bounds rather than give him an opportunity to score.

Kicking to Hester this week will be McAfee, who finished fourth in the NFL in punting in 2011. McAfee generally isn't one to kick away from return men. Of his 88 punts in 2011, 48 were returnable, tied for second in the NFL.

The decision of whether or not to kick to Hester will reside with the coaching staff, though, and not McAfee. Even with his strong leg, McAfee has shown an ability to directionally kick when needed.

Hester isn't just a threat on punts either. He's got another five touchdowns off kickoffs in his career. While the famous Chicago wind may play a part in it, McAfee is one of the best at producing touchbacks on kickoffs. Last year McAfee booted 41 touchbacks despite kicking off only 63 times, second only to Denver's Matt Prater and his altitude-induced average.

Hester will provide an immediate answer to whether or not the Colts' special teams have improved under the new coaching staff. They looked much better in the preseason, but Hester will provide the real test.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL official: Footballs known to have leaks 'right out of the box'

Bills suspend assistant coach for first six games of 2015

Trent Richardson has 50-50 chance at making Raiders roster

Rex Ryan takes subtle jabs at Jets' upper management

Everett Golson responds to Paul Finebaum's criticism

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mark Sanchez says it ‘crazy’ to call Chip Kelly racist

Malcolm Butler daring Brady to throw his way in practice

Geno Smith confident worst is behind him and the Jets

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Von Miller earns dismissal from NFL’s drug program

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

WATCH: Dez Bryant throws punches at training camp

There's no need for Notre Dame to join a conference

WATCH: Benches clear during Royals-Blue Jays game

Jim Harbaugh gives Nicki Minaj a shoutout on Twitter

The Kardashian sisters still call Caitlyn Jenner 'Bruce'

Tennessee fan recreates Neyland Stadium in backyard

Lolo Jones: I could last at least a minute against Rousey

Bears have very strict rules for media during training camp

Jamaal Charles: I feel like I'm the LeBron James of football

Ronda Rousey: I'll fight Cyborg if she stops taking steroids

Danny Garcia beats Paulie Malignaggi, remains undefeated

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker