This offseason two teams began a new legacy for their franchises after a blockbuster trade sent long-time Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and two future first round draft picks. The Rams are riding high with an elite offense while the Lions are attempting to avoid an imperfect season.
In a game that could be emotional for both sides this week anything could happen. Here are my bold predictions for Week 7.
Jared Goff gets a standing ovation from SoFi Stadium
It will take time to speculate accurately on who won the trade between the Rams and the Lions as the additional capital the Detroit received are future investments for a team begging for talent. So far the 5-1 Rams are feeling pretty good about their situation heading into Sunday’s matchup while the Lions are still looking for their first win of the season. Jared Goff has yet to win a game in the NFL without head coach Sean McVay by his side but when the two were together some amazing things happened, especially in their 2018 Super Bowl season.
In Week 4 of that year Goff had one of his best games as a quarterback in the NFL when he posted a passer rating of 158.3 with five touchdowns, 465 yards passing, and a 78% completion rate against a good Minnesota Vikings defense. On multiple occasions during the game the third year quarterback dialed up deep passes that showcased his accuracy that made him the first overall pick in 2016.
In Week 11 the 10-1 Rams took on the 9-2 Kansas City Chiefs for a Monday night showdown that featured two of the best teams in the NFL. The game lived up to every bit of the hype and may go down into the history books as one of the greatest games ever played. Goff went toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and came out the other side as the victor with four touchdowns and 413 yards passing. In that matchup he proved he could show up in the big moments. With just 1:56 left in the game and his team trailing by four points Goff unloaded a deep shot on the right side of the field to tight end Gerald Everett who tip toed his way to the end zone for the game winning score.
Goff would follow up those performances with a victory in the NFC championship game in which the Rams trailed most of the match. Down 13 early in the game the Rams clawed their way back to send the game into overtime where Drew Brees threw an untimely pick. The most impressive throws from Goff may have come in the series that lead to the game winning field goal. Twice the Rams QB found pressure in his face and both times he avoided the negative play when he found tight end Tyler Higbee for positive yardage. His ability in those moments to avoid failure is what vaulted his team over the Saints and cash in their tickets to the biggest stage in the NFL... though we all know how that went.
There will always be memorable moments in Goff’s tenure with the Rams even if some of the moments leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans. For all the good that he did in 2018 he followed it up with a dud in the Super Bowl that many have attempted to phase out of their memories and may have been the catalyst to the eventual downfall of the Rams-Goff relationship and the eventual trade with the Lions.
Even with a mixed bag of emotions I believe Goff will get a standing ovation from the home crowd for his time with Los Angeles this Sunday. He was the face of the franchise when the Rams moved out of St. Louis and he was very active in community work in Los Angeles while he was on the team.
After his standing ovation it will be game on and all friendships will be put to the side.
Aaron Donald and Jared Goff texted back and forth a bit this week in advance of Sunday’s game, said Donald. He jokingly said to Goff “get ready”, and that he’d be coming after him, and, laughing, said he would keep Goff’s rebuttal private but that it was funny.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 22, 2021
Michael Brockers gets a sack
Brockers spent nine years with the Rams after being picked 14th overall in the 2012 NFL draft. In his stay with LA he totaled 28 sacks and 395 combined tackles and helped sure up the defensive line with Aaron Donald by his side. This offseason Brockers was traded to the Lions for a seventh round pick in order to free up some cap space for larger contracts. Though much will be made about Goff’s return to Los Angeles it will also be Brockers homecoming after spending nearly a decade with LA.
Entering Week 7 Brockers currently has only one sack on the season but I predict he will have his second after a matchup with the Rams which is no easy task. The Rams offensive line has been one of the best in football at keeping their quarterback upright with only six sacks allowed this season.
The one thing that may give Brockers an advantage, and possibly a disadvantage depending on how the game goes, is his knowledge of the Rams offensive line. The familiarity with him and the offensive line can work in both ways but I am predicting at least once this game the former Ram gets the better of the offense line and brings down Stafford for a sack.
Henderson goes for 100 for the first time this season
Henderson has quietly been putting together a decent campaign this season. He has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and has five total touchdowns thus far. Last week Henderson had his most carries of the season with 21 and will look to continue to take a heavy workload against a Lions defense that ranks 26th in rushing yards allowed.
Darrell Henderson is going OFF pic.twitter.com/WIhIs50Qjw— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 17, 2021
So far this season McVay’s pass calling has been pass happy and often in games he will not go to the run game until late in the match in order to wind down the clock, limiting the amount of touches for his backs. Until last game Henderson averaged just 15 touches per game though he did suffer an injury in Week 2.
Last week Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon nearly crossed the 100 yard rushing mark against the Lions with 94 yards on the ground. The week prior Vikings rusher Alexander Mattison put up 113 yards against them. This week the Lions will have to attempt to stop Henderson who is running behind one of the best offensive lines in football this season.
Like last week I believe Henderson will get over 20 touches due to the lopsided nature of the scoreboard as LA puts up score after score. For the first time this season I predict that the Rams will have a 100+ rusher.
The Rams score a lot and Wolford gets more snaps under center
DraftKings Sportbook currently have Los Angeles as (-15.5) favorites against the Lions and even then it doesn’t seem like it might be enough. After starting slow last week the Rams went on a scoring spree in the second quarter and did not let off on the throttle until early in the fourth quarter when backup John Wolford took over as quarterback. LA’s defense also had an awakening of their own as they forced four total turnovers and forced Daniel Jones into a 44.7 QBR. They also sacked the Giants quarterback four times.
The Lions have had thus far a regrettable season that has been defined by close games and blowouts. At times they have been competitive. In Week 3 it took a record-setting field goal for the Baltimore Ravens to take home the win and in Week 5 it was much of the same as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings by two points. In Week 1 the Lions nearly clawed back against the 49ers in a wild fourth quarter surge but still lost by eight. The rest of their games have been lost by double digit scores.
Jared Goff…threw it away…on fourth down pic.twitter.com/tvXEX307QW— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 17, 2021
Their defense has been one of the worst in the NFL this season. They rank 25th in points allowed, 25th in yards allowed, 21st in passing touchdowns allowed, and dead last in net yards per pass attempt allowed. In other words: there is a good chance that Stafford absolutely goes off against his former team and the Rams score a ton of points.
That could also mean another short game for Stafford. If the Rams can start out strong like they have been emphasizing all week and do not step off the throttle the game could get ugly very quickly. It will not help the Lions offense that McVay knows exactly what makes Goff tick. If head coach Dan Campbell does not change things up and present something that Raheem Morris and McVay has yet to see it will be a forgettable game for the Lions and a celebration for Stafford.
If your hurting at quarterback in your fantasy football leagues it may just be in your best interest to start John Wolford as your starter this week against Detroit. My score prediction: Rams 45, Lions 10.
What are your predictions this Week? Let me know in the comments below!