LAFB has been talking about the potential for this matchup all season long and the football gods have obliged. Matthew Stafford will be going back to Ford Field in an emotionally charged return to Detroit for the first game since the Goff trade. Detroit fans will undoubtedly have mixed feelings about having him back in town. However, the Rams will win or lose depending on how their quarterback handles himself this week.
How Will Matthew Stafford Respond?
Will he slip into nostalgic feelings and find himself in a daze with everything on the line or will this be just another game for the stalwart quarterback? Additionally, will he feel any kind of untold resentment at the team that traded him, fueling extra motivation to win? His position will require 100% attention and anything that can knock him off his game could result in a loss after four months of grinding to get into the postseason.
One only needs to point toward Peyton Manning‘s 2014-2015 Wild Card showdown against Andrew Luck and the Colts for an example of a quarterback losing to his former team in the playoffs. The Denver Broncos had even more going for themselves than the Rams in that contest as they played the game in Denver. The Broncos were coming off a 12-4 season in which they were 8-0 at home. Meanwhile, the Colts were 11-5 and 5-3 away. Despite the advantage, the Broncos lost 24-13 in what was called one of Manning’s worst playoff performances, completing 26 of 46 passes for 111 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
If Manning, a well-established top thrower in NFL history, can stumble in a playoff game against his former rival, Stafford could fall into the same trap. If Stafford gives up early interceptions and the Lions capitalize with touchdowns, it would quickly take Kyren Williams out of the game and then it would fall even harder on the Rams quarterback to fight through the daze and nab a victory.
For Jared Goff the Stake Couldn’t be Higher
Even if Matthew Stafford plays well, the Rams are going to contend with what could be a vengeful Jared Goff, aiming to prove that the Rams made a mistake in dealing him away. Meaning, that one should be prepared for Goff to play anywhere between avoiding implosion to creating explosion.
If the Lions offense shows up to play, it puts plenty of pressure on Stafford to keep pace longer in the contest, which also could have an impact on Kyren Williams‘ usage in certain spots. Will Matthew Stafford send Jared Goff packing in more ways than just the trade? The legacies of Goff and/or Stafford might be affected by the result.