The Los Angeles Rams’ Wild Card matchup against the Detroit Lions is intriguing for several reasons, but none more than the quarterback battle between Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. The signal callers were famously traded for each other as part of a blockbuster trade prior to the 2021 season.
Goff was selected by the Rams with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and found a fair amount of success, leading the team to Super Bowl LIII and earning two Pro Bowl selections.
Stafford was picked by the Lions with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and spent 12 seasons as the team’s starting quarterback while going 0-for-3 in the playoffs.
Stafford has benefitted from the change of scenery as he won the Super Bowl in his first season with the Rams. Meanwhile, Goff is playing some of the best football of his career with the Lions.
In his first comments since learning of the matchup, Stafford said he is looking forward to facing his former team next week, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN:
“Exciting for this team just to get to where we are right now, to be honest with you,” Stafford said. “So many people out there didn’t think we’d get to this point, and the ability to get to this point is a true testament to everybody in this locker room — coaches, everybody. It’s awesome.
“The opportunity happens to be in Detroit, which is fun for me on a personal level. … I know it’s going to be rocking there. Haven’t had a playoff game there about 30 years or whatever it is. So it’ll be a great atmosphere. It’ll be a tough task for us, but definitely excited.”
Stafford is excited to catch up with some of his former Lions teammates and coaches, and thanked the organization for giving him his first opportunity in the NFL:
And though Stafford acknowledged there “will be a lot of stuff beforehand,” he added that a “football game is a football game once the ball is snapped.”
“It will be fun to see some of the people that I haven’t seen in a while, that I know are still around the building,” Stafford said. “And obviously it’ll be a different scenario and won’t be wearing their colors. But still, appreciate so many of the people there that gave me my start in this league and took care of me for 12 years, too.”
The Rams haven’t faced the Lions since a 28-19 win at SoFi Stadium in Week 7 of the 2021 season. Stafford threw for three touchdowns in the victory, while Goff struggled in his return to L.A.
Rams vs. Lions start time
The Rams will face the Lions on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. PT, with the game being simulcast on NBC and Peacock. For Detroit, it is their first home playoff game since 1994.