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March 4, 2024

Stafford’s Bittersweet Return: Lions Face Rams in Wild Card Showdown

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Jan 13, 2024

Quarterback Matthew Stafford is returning to Detroit this weekend, but he won’t receive a warm welcome. Stafford will lead his Los Angeles Rams against his former team, the Detroit Lions, in the NFC Wild Card playoff game on Sunday night. While Lions fans still have love for their former franchise QB, they want nothing more than to watch their team pull off a monumental upset victory over Stafford and the favored Rams.

Lead Up To The Game

Stafford played 12 seasons with the Lions before being traded to the Rams last offseason. He holds almost every major passing record in Lions history, but only managed to lead them to the playoffs three times and never won a postseason game. Now in his first season with Los Angeles, Stafford has the Rams in position to contend for another Super Bowl title.

The Lions surprised many by making the playoffs under second-year head coach Dan Campbell. They leaned on their defense, led by rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. Quarterback Jared Goff has played the best football of his career since being traded to Detroit in the Stafford deal. He would certainly love to beat his former team that gave up on him.

This unique quarterback matchup has dominated the headlines leading up to this wildcard clash. It’s also led to some controversy, with some Lions fans and a local bar suggesting banning Rams #9 Stafford jerseys for the game. Stafford’s wife Kelly called it “sad” and most have called off the idea. Still, Lions fans are desperate to will their team to pull off the upset on Sunday night.

2022 Season Stats Matthew Stafford Jared Goff
Completion % 68.0% 64.8%
Passing Yards 4886 4053
TD Passes 29 29
Interceptions 10 7
Passer Rating 103.0 99.3

Table 1. Season stats comparison for Stafford and Goff

Keys To The Game

The Lions will rely on Hutchinson and their defensive front to pressure Stafford and contain the Rams explosive offense. Offensively, Goff must continue his efficient play and keep feeding receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark downfield.

For the Rams, the key is keeping Stafford upright and letting him dissect the Lions secondary. Stafford has an array of weapons with receivers Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson and tight end Tyler Higbee. Running back Cam Akers must also be productive to keep the Lions defense honest.

If the Lions can control the line of scrimmage and limit Stafford’s time to throw, they could pull off the monumental upset. But the Rams are still the more talented team and favored by nearly a touchdown for good reason.

Prediction

The Lions will come to play in front of their fired-up home crowd. Expect them to hang around most of the game and make things tough on Stafford and the Rams. But ultimately, the Rams have too many weapons and Stafford will do just enough against his former team to squeak out a close victory.

Final Score Prediction: Rams 27 Lions 23

While Stafford still has great affection for Detroit, he now has eyes on bringing another Lombardi trophy to Los Angeles. Next weekend the Rams will travel to Philadelphia or San Francisco, while the Lions begin thinking about how to continue their progression in 2024. This bittersweet homecoming for Stafford will conclude with handshakes between two quarterbacks that will forever be linked.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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