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Analyzing the 'wins on the road against winning teams' narrative

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Taking a look at how every quarterback does on the road against winning teams.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

If you're a Detroit Lions fan, narratives rule the world. You've heard them all: the Lions are dirty, Eric Ebron is Mr. Magoo and he drops everything and -- the recently popular -- the Lions will fall off a cliff without Calvin Johnson. But there is one that sticks out more than any other, the one that pops up every week of the regular season and is on the cover of the "Fans Against Matthew Stafford" handbook. You know, this one:

Relax. That's an old version of the stat. But that shows how far this goes back. Just last week I wrote an article that showed how Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck are one and the same. In that piece, I made note that this stat seems to have been made up for Matthew Stafford. I say that because I can't, in all honesty, say that I can remember seeing this on any other quarterback in the NFL.

I also made a challenge to anyone that could find a quarterback that is more successful on the road against winning teams than Tom Brady. I decided to answer my own challenge. I now present you with the records for every current starting quarterback in the NFL on the road against teams with winning records.

Quarterback Wins Losses
Tom Brady 20 23
Carson Palmer 12 31
Drew Brees 11 27
Eli Manning 11 34
Aaron Rodgers 8 20
Joe Flacco 8 21
Russell Wilson 7 7
Tony Romo 7 14
Alex Smith 7 27
Matt Ryan 6 17
Jay Cutler 6 26
Andy Dalton 4 10
Philip Rivers 4 20
Colin Kaepernick 3 8
Mark Sanchez 3 9
Andrew Luck 3 10
Ryan Tannehill 2 9
Matthew Stafford 2 21
Teddy Bridgewater 1 3
Derek Carr 1 7
Sam Bradford 1 8
Brock Osweiler 0 1
Marcus Mariota 0 2
Jameis Winston 0 3
Tyrod Taylor 0 3
Kirk Cousins 0 4
Robert Griffin III 0 4
Blake Bortles 0 7
Ryan Fitzpatrick 0 22

So let's talk about some of these. Russell Wilson appears to be the only quarterback that can handle the pressure on the road. Aaron Rodgers isn't the greatest quarterback in the universe. Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Drew Brees are really old. I was right about Brady having the most wins on the road against winning teams. Finally, will somebody please hold Ryan Fitzpatrick and tell him that everything is going to be ok?

Let's get to your quarterback, Lions fans. If this is the Matthew Stafford stat, why isn't he smack dab at the bottom? Better yet, why isn't he the only quarterback in the NFL with a losing record against winning teams on the road? Fox, CBS, ESPN and Joe Buck's beard would have so many believing that he is on a weekly basis.

The truth is this, it's really hard to win on the road. Besides Tom Brady, who is No. 1 among current quarterbacks and third all-time with a record of 75-36 on the road, the next highest quarterback is Drew Brees at 57-51. As you can see above, it's even harder to win on the road against a winning team.

Still, you can't put it all on the quarterback. Yes, quarterback wins is a stat that many obsess over, but football is a team game. If a quarterback is winning on the road, it has a lot to do with the team surrounding him. The same can be said for those that lose on the road. In the end, the quarterback will always get the praise or the shame. It sure would be nice to see Stafford get more of the praise in 2016.