The Detroit Lions have been pegged by many prognosticators to finish at the bottom of the NFC North this season, reclaiming their rightful place as the division’s cellar dweller. This franchise is known as one that wastes its talented players, and that looks to be the case when it comes to franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. Although Stafford has passed for nearly 40,000 yards in his career, he has not been able to lead the Lions to a playoff victory, and Detroit has not won a playoff game since the 1991 season.
Matthew Stafford 2019 Passing Yards
Over 3900.5 -150
Under 3900.5 +120
Matthew Stafford 2019 Touchdown Passes
Over 25.5 +117
Under 25.5 -147
Prior to last season, Matthew Stafford had passed for a minimum of 4,200 yards in seven straight campaigns. He was throwing to one of the best receivers the game had ever seen for most of those seasons, but Calvin Johnson retired from football at the end of the 2015 campaign. Stafford has been without a true No. 1 since Megatron’s retirement.
Stafford should have a lot of chances to throw in 2019. The Lions look to be the worst team in the division, and they are likely going to be playing from behind in much of their games. However, Chicago and Minnesota have two of the best secondaries in the league, and Green Bay’s defensive backs are improved after being a horrorshow for most of the decade.
Marvin Jones is likely to be Detroit’s top wide receiver once more in 2019. Jones missed the latter half of last season with a knee injury, and the Lions passing game struggled as a result. Other receivers failed to step up and fill the void outside of Kenny Golladay.
Golladay had a breakout campaign as a deep threat. He averaged over 15 yards a reception, and that helped Stafford and the Lions stretch the field.
Theo Riddick is no longer available as a swing option out of the backfield, but Stafford has two new options in Danny Amendola and TJ Hockenson. Amendola will be a solid possession receiver for as long as he stays healthy, but the real pick-up is Hockenson. Detroit used a top ten pick on the tight end from Iowa, and early reports are that he could be a Zack Ertz or Jason Witten type of talent.
Although he has dealt with nagging injuries, Stafford has not missed a game due to injury since the 2010 season. He has been an above average quarterback during that time.
This number is off. As long as Stafford stays healthy, he will throw for more than 4,000 yards. Detroit might have a coach that wants to run the ball more with Kerryon Johnson impressing during training camp, but the Lions are going to have to throw due to their subpar defense. Jones, Golladay, and Hockenson will give Stafford plenty of weapons.
In particular, I think Hockenson will really help Stafford get over the number. Tight ends are a quarterback’s best friend, and Hockenson has all the tools to immediately make an impact as a rookie. He is an excellent route runner for a tight end, and his hands are very reliable.
Having Hockenson made me want to take the over in passing touchdowns initially, but Matt Patricia will want to keep the ball on the ground in the red zone. It’s been a while since the Lions have had a running back they could rely on to pick up tough yards, and Johnson can get it done.
Take the over on Stafford’s yards, but the under when it comes to passing touchdowns.
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