The Los Angeles Rams took the win-now approach and sent a slew of players and picks to Detroit for Matthew Stafford. It’s no secret that Stafford is a stud, but his 12-year career in Detroit was not an ideal location to win rings.
In 12 seasons, Stafford did lead the Lions to the playoffs three times but never won a game. Out of the three teams Stafford took to the playoffs, not one was built to win a championship, so it’s hard to fault the quarterback.
However, Stafford is no longer surrounded by a losing culture. He is playing under the bright lights of Los Angeles with weapons and a great head coach. For Stafford to uphold his elite status, he needs to win playoff games.
The Rams are favored by four points heading into their matchup against the Cardinals in the Wild Card round. Los Angeles should be favored as the home team, but do not be surprised if the headline following the game reads, “Even with Help, Matthew Stafford Remains Winless in Playoffs.”
The Rams have one of the best aerial assaults in the NFL, but I have a few concerns on Monday. Los Angeles ranks fourth in Real Quarterback Rating, the most indicative stat of championship teams. Although, they have been really good against bad teams and average against teams over .500.
This season, the Rams were 14th in Quality Standings, compared to the Cardinals, who placed fifth. Arizona had more success against good teams during the regular season, and every franchise is solid in the playoffs.
Additionally, the Cardinals are not terrible against the pass, and they are terrific versus the run. Arizona can afford to take guys out of the box to play the pass because they are so strong in the front seven.
The Cardinals are second in Defensive Rusher Rating and first in Rusher Rating Differential. Arizona ranks second in Offensive Rusher Rating, so they are very good on the line of scrimmage.
This could be tough for the Rams, who are 27th in Defensive Rusher Rating. The numbers give the Rams the slight edge, but if Matthew Stafford does not deliver, the Rams have no chance of winning.
Los Angeles cannot run the ball, and they struggle to stop the run. This is a recipe for disaster if your franchise quarterback does not come to play on Monday night.
To sum it all up…If you like the Rams, you are putting your money on Matthew Stafford.