Help is on the way for the Detroit Lions, but will it be enough?
The struggling Detroit Lions seem like they will be getting a difference-maker back Sunday in Arizona, but will it be enough to overtake the Cardinals on the road?
Despite being just average during the first two games of the season, Matthew Stafford did enough to win week one spotting his club a three-score lead heading into the fourth quarter. Detroit did jump out to a 14-3 lead in Green Bay before the engine stalled while coasting to a 42-21 loss.
We’re just a year removed from Stafford averaging 312 yards passing per game, on a torrid pace towards another 5,000 passing yard season along with nearing 40 touchdown passes before the broken back injury derailed his season after just eight games.
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The needle had been pointing upwards in Darrell Bevell’s first season as the Detroit Lions play-caller. He’s the perfect coordinator for Stafford. Bevell likes to set-up his downfield passing opportunities with the run. Now with Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift in the backfield, it leaves Bevell plenty of options that only benefit Stafford.
The one thing missing this season from last is Kenny Golladay.
The star receiver missed the first two contests with a strained hamstring. Still, after back-to-back limited practices Wednesday and Thursday, he’s finally on pace to make his season debut, and his 18.3 yards per reception from a year ago will be a welcomed sight for Stafford.
Golladay is the straw that stirs the drink in the receiver room. Last season Golladay recorded eight of his league-leading touchdowns over the first eight games of the season. That comes as no coincidence knowing Stafford only played in the first eight games.
If you’ve tuned in to the first two Lions games and have wondered why Marvin Jones in a contract year hasn’t separated himself from the other pass-catchers on the roster, it is simple to figure out. Both the Bears and Packers have rotated a safety over the top of Jones, leaving the underneath routes more appealing. It’s players like Danny Amendola, Quintez Cephus, and T.J. Hockenson benefitting but cannot gain yardage in chunks.
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So far, in 2020, Stafford is averaging a mere 270 yards passing per game without his top receiving threat, a 40-plus yard drop from last season. Getting Golladay back is enormous, but don’t forget he doesn’t play corner or rush the passer, so his presence may not lead to victories, but he will undoubtedly improve the sputtering offense.