The Detroit Lions have continued to see their 2019 campaign go south, falling more out of the playoff picture. Things have taken yet another disappointing turn as star quarterback Matthew Stafford has suffered broken bones in his back that have put a significant cloud on his status for the rest of the year. It has now put the Lions in the position of deciding his fate for the remainder of the season, which should see them come to the decision to shut him down.
Lions heading towards another playoff-less campaign
The hope heading into the 2019 season was that the Lions could finally take some strides forward towards being in the mix for postseason action.
The franchise has struggled to maintain any consistent success as the team looks to be going towards their seventh time, missing the playoffs in the last 10 years. It will also be the third straight year that they have failed even to grab a wildcard berth.
Detroit had shown some promise to begin the year, grabbing two wins in the first three contests. However, the Lions have continued to head south, garnering losses in five out of their last six games that have put them in a tight spot in the wildcard picture.
The direction of the team on the field should only further prove that Detroit should keep Stafford off the field for the rest of the season.
Matthew Stafford is dealing with a significant injury
The most reasonable argument towards this move for the Lions is that he’s recovering from a significant injury.
There is no questioning Stafford’s toughness as he has played through various injuries throughout his career, but he’s dealing with an ailment that has been deemed will need six weeks to fully recover, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Doctors recently told Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford that the fractured bones in his back are a six-week injury, league sources told ESPN.
Stafford was reportedly denied by team doctors to play the last two games against the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, which has put a cloud over how much longer he will be out. The injury that he suffered could potentially force him to miss six weeks, but there is no way to gauge the situation at this point.
The Lions may veer towards taking the prudent route with Stafford as he has been cemented as their franchise quarterback despite the team still struggling to breakthrough. He has put together a productive campaign with 2,499 passing yards on a 64.3% completion rate along with 19 touchdowns to five interceptions while holding a 106.0 passer rating.
Lions’ long-term future in mind
Detroit may be headed towards yet another disappointing finish out of the playoff picture, but the team has a few pieces to build around for the long haul.
Stafford is at the forefront of all that as he has continued to show he can produce at a high level. He has established a strong rapport with wide receiver Kenny Golladay, while rookie tight end T.J. Hockinson has quickly proven he can be a major factor in the passing game.
There are some health questions around running back Kerryon Johnson, but he has shown to be an all-around factor when he is healthy. The concern has laid more predominantly with their defense that has struggled giving up 26.3 points while being 29th against the pass and 27th against the run ahead of Week 11 action.
Detroit isn’t far off from being a factor in the NFC North or NFC entirely with a few more changes to their roster. Ultimately, the Lions must look at the bigger picture with Stafford’s injury well beyond the 2019 season.