Matthew Stafford is predicted to rule the NFC North division in 2020.
Selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford has undoubtedly been one of the best players in Detroit Lions’ history. Yet, Stafford has never even been considered the best passer in his own division.
That title has belonged to the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers. And for good reason. Entering the league four years before Stafford, Rodgers is an eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, two-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, and a Super Bowl champion.
And at 36-years old, Rodgers is coming off a season where he led the Packers to a 13-3 record, winning the NFC North crown. In comparison, Stafford played just eight games in 2019, and the Lions were in the basement of the division with a 3-12-1 record.
But one NFL writer believes Stafford will finally eclipse Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFC North. Here’s what Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports wrote recently after seeding Stafford seventh in his recent predictive ranking of the top 10 quarterbacks for the 2020 NFL season.
"” … Stafford is poised to pick up where he left off. Assuming he can stay healthy this time around, Stafford has a legitimate chance to put together the best season of his career. He’s never been better equipped to do so. That’s why he’s ranked seventh on a list that doesn’t include Aaron Rodgers. I think he’s going to be the best quarterback in the NFC North in 2020.”"
Wagner-McGough believes Rodgers’ career is in a state of decline. And that descent will continue in 2020 despite the Packers’ winning the division last year. And Stafford would seem to have the leg up on the NFC North’s other passers including the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins and the Chicago Bears’ Nick Foles (presumably).
Why is Matthew Stafford ranking so high?
For many years, fans of the Lions have been witness to the stellar level of play Stafford can display at times. They’ve also seen the 32-year old at his worst. But prior to his season-ending back injury last year, Stafford was putting together a stellar season under first-year offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
In his ninth NFL season, Stafford recorded 2,499 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and only five interceptions in half a season of work. Projecting out an entire 16-game slate, the veteran passer’s nearly 5,000-yard, 40 touchdown stats would have marked his best numbers since 2011.
Matthew Stafford appears to be on the precipice of a potentially record-setting season for the Detroit Lions. When you consider the fact he’ll be entering his second year under Darrell Bevell’s system with the best supporting cast of his entire career in the Motor City, we could see the Lions go from worst to first in the NFC North.