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 eeked 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 49. 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 couldn't finish 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 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.
Stafford (back), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Vikings, is expected to play, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Given Stafford's history of playing at less-than-optimal health, there never seemed to be much concern that he wouldn't be available in Week 16, especially after he was at least able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday through Friday. Though he'll likely be good to go, Stafford's weekly fantasy utility has taken a significant hit in the second half with a number of injuries befalling the Lions' skill-position players. Stafford should at least be buoyed by top wideout Kenny Golladay (chest) likely being available, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, but that probably won't be enough to make the signal-caller a comfortable fantasy option against a tough Minnesota defense.
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