The Los Angeles Rams are kicking off Week 16 on Thursday Night Football with what many are calling a de facto playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Playoff games separate teams with quarterbacks with those without. Sure, there are a few Cinderella stories of quarterbacks going on a miraculous playoff run with a loaded roster, but by definition, those are few and far between. The teams with the best quarterbacks win the toughest games and this week’s matchup is as tough of a situation as it gets for Matthew Stafford.
While the Rams have faced the Baltimore Ravens in recent weeks, the pressure was on the Rams more than the Ravens. This week, the pressure is on both teams equally in as bright of a spot as there has been all season long. The winner of the Saints and Rams game will propel themselves into the driver’s seat in the playoff chase while the loser will slip into life-support.
Matthew Stafford Holds The Playoff Destiny of the Rams In Week 16
As such, the game likely will come down to one final drive on offense where the Rams can put a dagger in the Saints, but it will be up to Stafford’s arm to get the team to that moment and to deliver. Whether it comes in the form of a final two-minute drive or a drive to put the Rams up by two scores late, Stafford won’t be able to coast on his roster.
At one point, the light will shine brighter on him than it has in any game since the Super Bowl victory, and it will be up to him to deliver in the moment in the way he did in Super Bowl LVI.
Even if he isn’t required to be clutch, a loss would leave fans pointing to a throw here and there that the quarterback could have hit accurately that would have completely changed the trajectory of the game. As such, Stafford has the Rams world on his shoulders. Will he rise to the challenge?
The quality of his production over the last four weeks has shot through the roof with at least three touchdown passes in three of the last four games and just one interception in that span. One more clutch performance would put a cherry on an explosive resurgence to relevance and would announce to the world on one of the biggest stages this season that the winning quarterback from Super Bowl LVI has returned.