Rams Vs. Lions Wild Card Preview: Matthew Stafford Returns To Detroit

Originally published by RamsNewswire.com

The Los Angeles Rams earned their postseason spot after winning six of their final seven games of the 2023 season and will now hit the road to take on the Detroit Lions during Wild Card weekend.

The two teams will be linked forever after their blockbuster deal that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams and Jared Goff to the Lions. It’s the rare trade that worked out for both sides as Stafford won his first Super Bowl title, while Goff led Detroit to their first NFC North division title in decades.

While the Rams have to be feeling good about their chances, they’re going to have a tough time on their hands as the Lions play sound football on both sides of the field. However, they will also have a massive home-field advantage as Ford Field will be filled with fans who have been waiting years to see the team host a playoff game.

Rams Offense vs. Lions Defense

All eyes will be on Stafford, who returns to the city where his career began and Los Angeles will need him at his best. Detroit is one of the best run defenses in the league, so even though Kyren Williams finished the season as the second-leading rusher, Stafford will need to take to the air to move the football.

Aidan Hutchinson is a handful up front for offensive linemen, but Detroit’s secondary has been susceptible to giving up big plays downfield. Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and even Demarcus Robinson should get their fair share of opportunities for the Rams.

Rams Defense vs. Lions Offense

Like Detroit, Los Angeles’ defensive line has been outstanding at defending opposing running backs though their opponent boasts two quality starters in David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. Montgomery is the early-down back, while Gibbs handles most of the receiving work though he is also electric when taking handoffs.

Meanwhile, the Rams’ secondary might catch a break as Sam LaPorta is questionable after hurting his knee in Week 18. However, that doesn’t mean they can relax as Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the most dangerous receivers in the league, especially after the catch.

Rams keys to victory

1. Withstand the first punch

The energy in the building will be electric, and it’ll be important for Los Angeles not to get swept up all the emotion. The Lions will surely try to make a statement early and it’s up to the Rams to weather the storm.

2. Force Jared Goff into passing situations

Detroit does a good job making Goff’s reads easier with their run game, so if L.A. can slow down their running backs they have a good chance at pressuring Goff into mistakes.

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