Stafford will work with a new offensive coordinator in 2019 after the Lions hired Darrell Bevell to replace Jim Bob Cooter, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Cooter helped Stafford produce three straight seasons (2015-17) with at least 7.2 yards per attempt and a completion percentage above 65, but the Lions opted not to renew their coordinator's contract after a disappointing 2018 campaign. Personnel seemed to be a bigger problem than coaching, with Golden Tate traded away in late October and Marvin Jones suffering a season-ending knee injury shortly thereafter. It didn't help that the team insisted on giving LeGarrette Blount carries (154) even as he eked out just 2.7 yards per attempt. Bevell is best known for his run-heavy offenses led by Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson in Seattle, not to mention the infamous Malcolm Butler goal-line interception in Super Bowl XLIX. The hiring is probably better news for Kerryon Johnson (knee) than Stafford, though general manager Bob Quinn did emphasize his desire to field a balanced offense. Head coach Matt Patricia seems to prefer a conservative approach, though it requires his defense to take a big step forward from 2018.
Stafford completed 20 of 32 pass attempts for 266 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 31-0 win against the Packers. Entering Week 17, Stafford was coming off a gauntlet run of elite NFL secondaries. A veteran with seven consecutive 4,200-yard passing seasons prior to 2018, Stafford was limited to an underwhelming 187.7 passing yards per game with a 5:5 TD:INT ratio over his past six outings. This slump having come while facing four of the league's 10 best pass defenses in Buffalo, Minnesota, Arizona and Chicago, Stafford was poised for a bounce-back performance taking on a Green Bay defense that entered the regular-season finale having surrendered the seventh-most completions to opposing quarterbacks while forcing the fourth-fewest interceptions. Stafford did just that, wrapping up 2018 with his first multi-touchdown performance since Week 10 as the Lions completed a 6-10 campaign. With two losing seasons and only one playoff appearance over his past four years as the starter, Stafford aims to lead Detroit back to the postseason in 2019 with the team benefiting from a fourth-place schedule.
Stafford (back) completed 18 of 32 passes for 116 yards in Sunday's 27-9 loss to the Vikings. Stafford moved the ball well early, but he couldn't finish off drives as his team took a 9-0 lead on three field goals. The offense completely stalled after that, and Detroit's starting quarterback was even removed for backup Matt Cassel in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand for the opposition. Even if the Lions decide against shutting Stafford down for the meaningless finale in Green Bay, his 1,126 passing yards and 3:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the past six weeks don't inspire much confidence.
Stafford (back) is active for Sunday's game against the Vikings, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports. Stafford has contended with a back injury in advance of each of the Lions' past three contests, but again it won't stop him from being available, marking his 127th consecutive start. In the previous two outings, he combined for only 309 yards and one touchdown at a clip of 5.9 yards per attempt, numbers that he may replicate versus a Minnesota pass defense that has allowed just 170.8 yards per game, three touchdowns and 6.3 YPA to quarterbacks over the last five games.
The Lions are listing Stafford (back) as questionable for Sunday's game against the Vikings. Stafford's practice participation was limited throughout the week while he manages the back issue, which has been plaguing him for much of the past month. Even with the postseason out of reach for the Lions, it's not expected that Stafford is at major risk of sitting out this weekend, given his lengthy track record of playing through pain. Still, he won't make for an alluring fantasy option due to the poor collection of talent surrounding him. Star running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) joined starting wideout Marvin Jones (knee) on injured reserve this week, while top receiver Kenny Golladay (chest) is also listed as questionable for Week 16.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||Los Angeles Chargers||8||16.89|
|4||09/29||Kansas City Chiefs||23||21.67|
|6||10/15||@Green Bay Packers||22||21.25|
|8||10/27||New York Giants||13||18.75|
|15||12/15||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||30||23.13|
|17||12/29||Green Bay Packers||22||21.25|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||65.7||4183||25||10||125||1||309|