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Matthew Stafford set to go ‘bombs away’ against former team

Cooper Kupp could have a big day too as Lions rank last in many key defensive categories

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No team has seen fewer passing attempts thrown against them than the Detroit Lions defense. Only one team has seen more passing attempts against their defense than the Los Angeles Rams. But when Jared Goff returns to Los Angeles and plays in front of fans at SoFi Stadium for the first time in his career, he most likely won’t have near the advantages of Matthew Stafford.

Because the Rams offense ranks first in yards per pass attempt — 9.1.

And the Lions defense ranks last in yards per pass attempt allowed — 9.8.

Through six weeks, the LA Rams rank fourth in passing yards and passer rating, third in touchdowns (behind only Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady), first in net yards per pass attempt, second in adjusted yards per attempt, and are tied for the fewest sacks allowed per dropback. The Rams also rank first in Expected Points Added by the passing offense, holding a wide margin lead over second place Tampa Bay and third place Kansas City.

Consider that the Chiefs and Bucs were both top-three passing offenses in 2020 and by no surprise to anyone, Mahomes and Brady are still good one season later.

The LA Rams, however, ranked 26th in passing touchdowns with Goff last season, were 21st in Y/A, 22nd in passer rating, and 20th in EPA.

How long does the “Goff and Stafford are basically the same QB” crowd still have even one more member remaining?

But while our perspective on the Rams side has always billed this as “Goff’s trip back to SoCal in powder blue,” for Matthew Stafford and his long time loyal fans from Detroit, it’s the prized acquisition of the trade against possibly the worst pass defense in the NFL.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are allowing 9 yards per pass attempt, second-worst in the league, and it’s still nearly a full yard behind the Lions. Almost a full yard! PER THROW!

Detroit has only faced 165 pass attempts — lowest in the NFL despite the fact that four teams in the NFL were on a bye and have only played in five games — but 12 passing touchdowns allowed is tied for the eighth-most.

The Lions rank 31st in passing TD% allowed, 32nd in Y/A, adjusted Y/A, and passer rating allowed, 31st in adjusted NY/A allowed, 32nd in NY/A, and 29th in EPA allowed on passing attempts.

Detroit has faced Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Justin Fields, Kirk Cousins, and Joe Burrow. Now they face Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, who might also be in line for a good day.

Mark Andrews (109), Davante Adams (121), Justin Jefferson (124), Darnell Mooney (125), and Deebo Samuel (189) have all crossed over 100 yards against the Lions, while Ja’Marr Chase (97) came close. George Kittle, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson each went over 60 yards.

And again — the Detroit Lions have seen the fewest passing attempts against in the NFL — BY A LOT (per game).

Jared Goff, meanwhile, will be facing the defense that has allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns of any team per game in 2021, with the third-lowest passer rating and the eighth-lowest EPA allowed.

Don’t count any game ‘over’ until it starts and ends, but Stafford and the Rams have been warned: opportunity awaits.