I have an unpopular opinion to share: Matthew Stafford is a Hall of Fame Quarterback who is more skilled than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Additionally, if Stafford played in the Patriots system his entire career, he would be the GOAT and it really wouldn’t even be that close.
Now that I have your attention, let’s look at some all-time career numbers that back up my above-noted proclamation:
- Career Passing Yards Per Game = 2nd
- Career Passing Yards = 18th
- Career Passing TD’s = 19th
- Career Passer Rating = 22nd
- Career 4th Quarter Comebacks = 10th
What is most impressive about these numbers is that Stafford is doing it with a Lions organization that can’t draft or develop anybody and has a long and dubious track record of having the worst front office in all of football.
Finally, don’t come at me with the whole “Stat Mafford” idea that his stats are ballooned because they are always trailing, and thus, have to throw the ball. Brees, Brady, Manning x2, Marino, Favre, Rivers, Elway, Roethlisberger, Flacco, and A.Rod are just SOME of the names that have attempted more passes than Stafford.
What you are going to see Sunday at Soldier Field is a guy who may be having the best year in a Hall of Fame career. This season, league-wide, Stafford currents ranks:
- Total Passing Yards = 4th
- Passing Yards Per Game = 1st
- Touchdowns = 2nd
- Passer Rating = 5th
In an effort to better explain Stafford’s 2019 numbers, let’s look at how they compare to Bears QB Mitch Trubisky:
- Total Passing Yards = Stafford 2,499/Trubisky 1,217
- Passing Yards Per Game = Stafford 312/Trubisky 174
- Touchdowns = Stafford 19/Trubisky 5
- Passer Rating = Stafford 106/Trubisky 80
There is nothing like comparing an opposing QB to Mitch in an effort to better build your case for the former.
Thru 7 games this season, Stafford’s throw charts are as impressive as it gets. In recent weeks, you can clearly see that the preference for deep balls to the left hash and outside is his go zone; the last 8 out of 10 TD throws have gone to the left side and 12 of 19 TDs have been thrown to that side of the field.
This is as impressive as it is scary; especially for the Bears secondary, who is coming into the game playing as good as they have all season. They’ll have to continue this trend because Kenny Golladay is coming into town and he’s not fucking around. Golladay ranks in the top 10 in almost every receiving category and leads the league in TD catches with 7. Marvin Jones will line up opposite Golladay, and actually has more catches (42) and only 1 less TD. Veteran receiver Danny Amendola (31 catches) rounds out a very formidable receiving corps.
Stafford doesn’t rely very heavily on his backfield in either the running game or the passing game. Running Back Kerryon Johnson is averaging about 50 rushing yards and only about 2 passing targets out of the backfield per game. All told, the Lions average just fewer than 100 rushing yards on 26 attempts per game.
Defending Stafford is difficult due to his ability to stay in pocket. He is tough, and will take some hits in order to complete a pass. He will also be a little careless with the ball, both in holding onto it and taking chances on throwing into tight spaces.
In predicting what we will see from Stafford on Sunday, I feel he will be able to make a lot throws, but will also give 1 or 2 back to the Bears. Ultimately, Stafford’s vertical passing and play-action game will make the difference in a close game.
Bears 17, Lions 20