Matthew Stafford for MVP Is Now A Possibility

Matthew Stafford for MVP Is Now A Possibility

Has Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford earned his spot amongst the NFL’s most valuable players? It’s debatable. What’s not debatable is that his level of play has propelled the Detroit Lions, just 1-3 three weeks ago, into the postseason discussion. Now sitting at 4-3 and coming off three straight victories, the Lions are seeing the very best of their former number one overall pick, and are back in the playoff picture because of him.

Let’s put Stafford aside for a minute and look at the rest of this roster, or at least what’s left of it. Simply put, it’s not very good. In some areas it’s dreadful. The defense is near the bottom of the league. In other areas, it’s hardly praiseworthy. The offensive line, while better than a year, is still a problem. And, even the team’s best unit, the wide receivers, lead the league in dropped passes once again.

But with Stafford playing the best football of his career, the other issues on this team appear less significant then they were four weeks ago.

[graphiq id=”9syKaG4geot” title=”Matthew Stafford Overview” width=”640″ height=”674″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/9syKaG4geot” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/19572/Matthew-Stafford” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

Last week’s come-from-behind victory against the Washington Redskins is the perfect example. The Lions led for most of the game, but then the 4th quarter came and Kirk Cousins got hot, the Lions’ defense fell apart by blowing assignments and the Redskins took a four-point lead with a minute to play. Matthew Stafford and the offense went back to work and produced a sterling six play, 75-yard game winning touchdown drive.

After the game, Golden Tate pointed to Stafford, “We played it perfectly. We’re confident in that situation. We’ve seen number nine step up time and time and time again and we love him and we follow him.”

Head coach Jim Caldwell also had the following to say about why Stafford is so successful in late-game situations, “I attribute to the fact number one, he does not back down from tough situations. He relishes them, he doesn’t get nervous and he’s got a real clear and focused mind during the time when it’s sometimes a little bit of chaos all around you. But he rises to the occasion time and time again. He’s certainly delivered for us.”

[graphiq id=”6CTVX4D4fwp” title=”Matthew Stafford 2016 Season Passing Stats” width=”600″ height=”467″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/6CTVX4D4fwp” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/19572/Matthew-Stafford” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

Let me confess that I have been one of Stafford’s biggest critics since he was drafted in 2009. After a historic 2011 season that saw him throw 41 touchdown passes, Stafford’s level of play dropped off significantly for the next three seasons. Something was wrong. Sure he was still putting up decent numbers, but he needed to elevate his team’s performance and make players around him better, like two-time NFL MVP and three-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady is known for doing.

It now appears that Stafford has elevated his status. He’s now a legitimate MVP candidate. Credit offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter who took over midway through last year. Since then, Stafford has posted a QB rating of 105.4,  thrown 38 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, and has led the team to a record of 10-6.

So back to the question. Are you aboard the Matthew Stafford MVP express? Cause if you’re not, you should be. Keep in mind that Most Valuable Player means exactly that, a player who is most valuable to his team’s success. The Lions’ roster as a whole is bad, but Stafford has stepped up with outstanding play and great leadership and has instilled a camaraderie to this Lions team that is infectious.

My opinion? If the Lions make it to the postseason, then Matthew Stafford becomes the front runner for MVP.

We’ll see what happens the rest of the way, but if there was such thing as a mid-season MVP award, the honor goes to Matthew Stafford. And he should have your vote as well.

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