Of all the changes in Matthew Stafford’s football career last year, perhaps none was more visible than exposure. As a member of the Detroit Lions for 12 years, Stafford’s opportunities to play in primetime were limited. That’s not trash talk, just a fact that’s backed up by the number of times that NBC, ESPN, and the NFL Network wanted to show Lions games.
As a member of a Rams team showing off its brand new $5 billion stadium, the NFL was abundant in their opportunities for Stafford to be seen on national television.
L.A. ended up going 3-2 in their five regular season primetime games (wins over Bears, Seahawks, Cardinals, and losses to the Titans, 49ers) and then 1-0 in a late night wild card win over the Cardinals. Of course, Stafford showed poise in front of the biggest audiences in the world by winning all four of his playoff starts.
Prior to joining the Rams, Stafford had played in a total of 22 primetime games in 12 years. That’s an average of less than two per year. When the Rams face the 49ers on Monday Night Football, it will be Stafford’s seventh primetime game with Los Angeles in less than a season and a half.
After losing to the Bills in Week 1, it will also be Stafford’s opportunity to go back above .500 if he can beat San Francisco on Monday Night Football this time. Something that didn’t happen on MNF last season.
Stafford is 6-7 all-time on Monday Night Football, including a 31-10 loss to the 49ers last season. In his other MNF appearance in 2021, the Rams beat the Cardinals 30-23. But all three of Stafford’s primetime losses with L.A. have been of the “blowout” variety. Stafford is also 11-16-1 all-time against the NFC West and 1-5 against San Francisco.
There are a few demons he can exorcise with a strong game against the 49ers on Monday.