If CBS Sports analyst Sean Wagner-McGough is to be believed, that answer is a resounding yes. Recently, Wagner-McGough put together his list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league for 2020 and Stafford made the list at No. 7 overall.
It wasn’t just because Stafford is healthy again after a lost 2019 season. According to Wagner-McGough, the quarterback’s talent as well as his new offensive system and the weapons he has at his disposal helps to combine to make him one of the best players in the league at his position. In fact, Wagner-McGough thinks Stafford will be the top quarterback in his own division.
“It continues to fly under the radar that Stafford was on pace to throw for 4,998 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 2019 before an injury ended his season after eight games. At the time of his injury, Stafford ranked second in touchdown passes, fourth in yards per attempt, fifth in passer rating, third in DYAR, fifth in DVOA, and seventh in total QBR. Freed from the constraints of the Jim Bob Cooter offensive system that focused more on short passes and playing in a Darrell Bevell system that allowed him to use his arm talent to throw downfield, Stafford thrived.
With Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones still around, and T.J. Hockenson entering Year 2, Stafford is poised to pick up where he left off. Assuming he can stay healthy this time around, Stafford has a legitimate chance to put together the best season of his career. He’s never been better equipped to do so.
That’s why he’s ranked seventh on a list that doesn’t include Aaron Rodgers. I think he’s going to be the best quarterback in the NFC North in 2020.”
If healthy, this could easily be the case. Rodgers seems to be on the decline with the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears have an uncertain situation and Kirk Cousins has been average at best since joining the Minnesota Vikings. With this in mind, Stafford has a chance to step in and put up some numbers in addition to leading some big winning on the field.
Stafford has never won the NFC North, but he has the talent to do so if he is able to unlock everything in a vital season. That’s just what many analysts are predicting happens when all is said and done.
Analyst Revealed Matthew Stafford’s Potential 2019 Numbers
Recently, ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky took a stab at projecting what Stafford would have done if not for a back injury midway through the season. As he showed, Stafford was well on track to perhaps having an MVP level season with the Detroit Lions. It’s possible that Stafford would have gone for over 5,000 yards passing with 38 touchdowns had he not been hurt.
Obviously, Stafford started out on a tear, and was a big reason the Lions had a decent start to the year. It’s not a surprise their fortunes tanked when the team was forced to go without him. The Lions finished a woeful 3-12-1 without Stafford.
Heading into 2020, though, these stats provide some hope that Stafford might be primed for big things this coming season. The league might have to look out for Stafford with this in mind, and that’s just what this latest piece seems to be hinting.
Matt Patricia Explains Love For Matthew Stafford
Recently, Matt Patricia went on Good Morning Football and was asked about the offseason of rumors that seemed to never stop churning as it related to the quarterback. Patricia simply put the stop to those talks with a solid explanation.
“One of the main reasons I came to the Detroit Lions was Matthew Stafford. I have the utmost respect for him as a player,” Patricia said. “I think he’s a phenomenal teammate. He’s a great football mind. He loves to talk the game. I just get fired up when I get the chance to talk to him and go over strategy. From that standpoint for me, it’s kind of a crazy conversation when that stuff comes up.”
As Patricia said, he gets why some coaches want change at the quarterback spot, but he is just the opposite when it comes to Stafford, choosing to build around him.
“I do understand when coaches maybe go into franchises and they’re trying to re-do everything there, maybe go younger, get a less expensive quarterback, whatever it is to build around pieces they feel they need. In our case here, I’m trying to do the best I can to build around Matthew Stafford,” he said. “Try to help him out, obviously with the offensive line, get a little bit of a run game, play better defense. Try to do everything we can to have a complementary football team with him as our leader. I get really excited to coach him and I’m not changing.”
The Lions stuck with Stafford and it doesn’t look as if they are changing anytime soon given the reasons Patricia outlined.
Should Stafford have a season like this, it would only be proven as brilliant in the end.