Matthew Stafford's toughness on display, as Lions playoff hopes are all but dead

Matthew Stafford Lions
Posted at 2:12 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 14:12:15-05

DETROIT - The Lions 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers featured two quarterbacks seemingly going in opposite directions. The Packers 37-year old Aaron Rodgers is stiff-arming Father Time. He is also running close with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the NFL’s MVP award.

“We knew this was going to be a dog fight,” said Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell. “We were going up against one of the best quarterbacks ever in this league.”

The Packers average 31 points a game thanks in part to Rodgers strong season so far. Green Bay has a commanding lead in the NFC North with a 10-3 record. A home playoff game looks like a strong possibility.

On the other sideline, Matthew Stafford left the game in the fourth quarter, injured on a six-yard run. Bevill said Stafford had x-rays of his ribs taken after the game. His status for next week’s game in Tennesse against the Titans is not known.

“Stafford is a tough as they come,” Bevill said. “It’s going to have to be pretty drastic for him not to be in there.”

The injury might have happened sooner as Stafford was sacked four times for a loss of 31 yards. A promising drive near the end of the first half was snuffed out when Stafford was sacked after moving the Lions into the Packers’ territory.

Rodgers was never sacked by the Lions defense. He avoided trouble by running the ball when the Lions defense closed in. Rodgers also scored the go-ahead touchdown with a 6-yard run in the third quarter. That drive lasted almost nine minutes.

After the game, Rodgers answered questions about the Packers' future playoff possibilities. The NFL expanded the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams in the offseason by adding a third wild card spot to each conference's postseason tournament. Because of the addition of the extra wild card spot, just one team will get a week off before a playoff game. The Packers are tied with the New Orleans Saints with the NFC’s best record.

“We’ve played in four NFL Championship games and all four were on the road,” said Rodgers. “To have the whole thing come through Green Bay is something we’ve talked about for a long time. But it has never happened. That would definitely be in our favor.”

There will be nhome playoff game for Stafford or the Lions. According to the Lions have a 1% chance of making the playoffs. Stafford is back in a familiar spot: out of the playoffs and injured. Last season he left after week nine with fractured bones in his back.

In the offseason, if he isn't cut or traded, Stafford will get another coach and general manager. A lot changes for the Lions. A lot stays the same.