Lions hot topics: Jared Goff vs. Matthew Stafford by the numbers

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

A current debate among Detroit Lions fans has been over the current and former quarterbacks of the Pride, Jared Goff versus Matthew Stafford. We’re going to state the main tenets of each argument but go past them to see what statistical analysis can say objectively.

That may not move the needle with fans who have visceral reactions to the Stafford era or Goff’s history. But it may shed some light on a topic that’s sure to rage on for some time.

Jared Goff vs. Matthew Stafford, debate set-up

The basic argument of Goff-backers is simple, his win-loss record is 42-27 in 69 games, he has two playoff wins in five tries, two division titles, two Pro-Bowls, and a Super Bowl appearance. His 18,171 yards-passing, 107 touchdown passes versus 55 interceptions, 63.4% career completion percentage, are all pretty solid, as well. You can peruse his stats from the Pro Football Reference (PFR) website, which holds many NFL statistics and records.

Goff’s supporters often claim that the W-L record is all we need to know since Matthew Stafford hasn’t won any playoff games, has just one Pro Bowl, and no division titles in twelve years.

Also, Goff’s first five year’s numbers are superior if you compare them to the first five years of Matthew Stafford’s career, stats also from PFR, here.

Stafford’s totals are a 24-37 record in 61 games, 2,497 passing attempts, 1,485 completions, a 59.4% completion rate, 17, 457 yards-passing, 109 passing touchdowns, and 73 interceptions. Objectively, Stafford was not as productive in his first five years.

The problem with the argument depends on how much weight that you give to his cast, including All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, a decent set of wide receivers, and a decent defense. Goff’s numbers took a nosedive when Gurley’s knee kept him from playing consistently, which started on their run to the Super Bowl in 2018 and they never recovered.