Is Matthew Stafford gunning for MVP status in 2020?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Is Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford in a prime situation to win the NFL’s MVP award?

It started with a text to a former Detroit Lions teammate that was relayed on the air of Good Morning Football on NFL Network after Peter Schrager’s segment talking about a dark horse to win the Most Valuable Player award in 2020. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was Schrager’s on-air pick for a player that might emerge unexpectedly to win the award.

Stafford was on pace to compete for the MVP in 2019 before his injury, so reaching this status isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. But it will take more than the quarterback’s efforts. It will take the whole team.

In 2019, for example, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took home the MVP behind some solid numbers. But, his team also completed a first-place finish in the AFC North with a 14-2 record.

The Ravens were the number one seed in the AFC with a first-round playoff bye and Jackson was the best player on the best team during the regular season. That’s pretty much the definition of what it takes to win the MVP, or what some argue it should be.

Back to Stafford and a text sent to his friend and former teammate Nate Burleson, also an anchor on the show with Schrager, we’ll never know how serious it was or if it was in jest with a close friend. There is only a small level of context released and here is what was reported by Justin Rogers of The Detroit News:

"“On a later broadcast, when Schrager again mentioned Stafford’s MVP prospects, Burleson interrupted to share a text from his former quarterback. ‘Tell Peter to forget the dark horse stuff — I’m going for the MVP!’”"

Of course, when asked about the text, Stafford played it down as though it didn’t mean much. Coming off an injury and a three-win season, one might say he commented with realism and from a perspective of knowing what it would take to win the award.

What will it take for Matthew Stafford to win MVP?

If Stafford hopes to bring home the MVP, he’s going to have to see success as a team as well. Would the Detroit Lions need to win 14 games? Maybe, but probably not. Given the team’s track record and decades without winning the NFC North, a divisional title might do the trick. Finishing with one of the top three records in the NFC would also help the cause.

To do it all on his own stats without the team’s success, it would probably take video game numbers and not the kind that come during junk time of a lost game. The team must still be competitive for the best player on even just one of the best teams to be awarded. After all, the MVP of the NFL should be elevating their team to victory.

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Stafford has a challenge ahead of him and a full arsenal of weapons on offense to help him get there. The defense will need to do their part as well to avoid the need to win via shootout every week. And a certain level of luck is needed to avoid the injury bug and other concerns brought on by COVID-19. The table is set and there’s less than a week before the season kicks off for us to find out if Stafford can start an MVP chase.