After a dozen seasons in Detroit, the Lions’ all-time leading passer is no longer a Lion.
Matthew Stafford is out. Jared Goff is in.
On the heels of a blockbuster trade of starting quarterbacks this past March, the Lions are hoping Goff can lead them to the promised land. For a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in 30 years, any kind of change brings hope of a brighter future. And with a quarterback on board who started in Super Bowl LIII just a couple years ago, the future may seem a tiny bit brighter already.
Goff, who was 42-27 as a starter with the L.A. Rams, will try and lead the Lions to their first postseason appearance since 2016. He should be able to quickly develop a chemistry with targets such as Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson, although the wide receiver position will be a major question mark for Detroit this fall with Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, and Kenny Golladay gone.
Even if the Lions are able to put points on the board at a consistent clip, the real area of concern for new head coach Dan Campbell is the defense. Detroit ranked dead last in the National Football League in both points allowed and yards given up last season. Can rookies like Levi Onwuzurike, Alim McNeill, Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Derrick Barnes help change that?
Playing in the same division as reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers doesn’t make things easy for any defense, and the Lions will of course have to face Rodgers and the Packers twice. The first matchup comes September 20 at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football, with Green Bay set to visit Detroit in the regular season’s final game January 9.
The 2021 season for Detroit kicks off September 12 with a home game against the 49ers. One of the most highly anticipated games of the season is a showdown with the Rams on October 24 in L.A. to see who really won the Stafford-Goff trade. Other highlights of the schedule include the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field; this year’s opponent is NFC North foe Chicago. In all, more than half of the Lions’ 17 games will be against playoff teams from last season.
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