Matthew Stafford can earn some accolades if he picks up where he left off in 2019.
It’s a fair assumption to say that some Detroit Lions fans are gamblers, as after their favorite team comes up short, they may want to press their luck and pick other games against the spread. But if Lions’ fans want to gamble on one of their favorite players this season, they should look no further than franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford winning Comeback Player of the Year.
Back injuries are no joke, as some football players’ careers have been ruined from a back tweak. But Stafford is not just some football player. He’s a fighter who previously held the second-longest start streak before his back injury last year and has had more than half a year to recover.
It does help Stafford that he has arguably one of the best receiving corps in the NFL, with Kenny Golladay emerging as a legitimate No. 1 option, Marvin Jones. Jr. as a possession juggernaut, Danny Amendola as a speedy slot receiver, and bruising tight end T.J. Hockenson looking to improve on a rather pedestrian rookie season.
This season could also be the first time in Stafford’s 11-year career where he has a legitimate running game, with D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson providing a great one-two punch while Bo Scarborough can be a poor man’s Joique Bell, punching the ball in on key goal line situations.
The 2020 NFL season will be one where the rich stay rich and those who have a solid footing in their franchise will continue to excel, as new starters could struggle with the virtual off-season limiting face-to-face instruction from coaches to learn complex schemes.
Matthew Stafford was playing at an MVP level before his back injury last season
Former Seattle Seahawks playcaller Darrell Bevell appeared to unlock Stafford’s potential with the deep ball last season, as his brilliant play-action focused offense combined with Stafford’s cannon helped Stafford finish second in completions of 25+ yards before the injury.
Tim Twentyman of Detroitlions.com expanded on this point in a recent predictions piece, as he believes Stafford will win the Comeback Player of the Year award in a landslide victory
“[Stafford’s] poised to top all those numbers. Darrell Bevell’s offense suits Stafford, and he’s got all three of his top receivers back. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is set to take a big leap in his second season and the run game looks much improved on paper with the addition of rookie D’Andre Swift and others. All is in place for Stafford to have a monster 2020.”
Matthew Stafford was in the middle of crafting an MVP resume before his back injury, as he threw for 2,499 yards in eight games, with 19 touchdowns, five interceptions and a career-best 106.0 passer rating. If the veteran passer can manage to pick up where he left off in 2020, Lions fans may be able to watch their favorite quarterback play meaningful games for a playoff spot in December.