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Matthew Stafford passes first test of 2014 season

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Matthew Stafford is facing a lot of pressure to improve this season, and so far, so good for the Detroit Lions quarterback.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

This week's question from Marshall Faulk is about which Detroit Lions player is facing the most pressure to perform this season. I think the answer is quite obvious: quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Stafford's play seemingly regressed in 2012 and 2013, and his struggles had a lot to do with the Lions' second-half collapses. When the Lions changed coaches this past offseason, they put a big focus on hiring someone who can help take Stafford's game to the next level, and expectations are quite high for him this season.

Although we're only one week into the 2014 season, Stafford has already answered some critics based on how he played on Monday night against the New York Giants. He didn't have any turnovers, and he completed 22 of his 32 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown, and generally speaking, his footwork looked much improved. Actually, his ability to avoid pressure and keep plays alive played a big role in all three of his touchdowns on Monday.

It obviously remains to be seen how Stafford will perform throughout the rest of 2014, but he's off to a great start so far. He will face a tough test on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, especially with the Lions dealing with injuries at right tackle, but if he performs anything like he did in Week 1, the Lions will likely be returning to Detroit with a 2-0 record.

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