Matthew Stafford will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday for only the third time in his NFL career. The schedule dictates that an NFC opponent will only play an AFC opponent every four seasons. Even still, the Jaguars hold a distinction that no other Detroit Lions opponent can boast: they have never allowed a Matthew Stafford passing touchdown in the history of their franchise. Stafford has thrown at least two touchdowns against all 30 other teams.
Stafford found out about this fact during his Wednesday press conference when a reporter brought it to his attention. Stafford admitted it brings a little extra motivation to Sunday’s game.
“Yeah, that needs to happen for sure,” Stafford said with a smile.
It’s not like Stafford has played poorly against the Jaguars in his two games. The Lions won both matchups, while Stafford completed 69.7 percent of his passes for an average of 281.5 yards per game and a 95.7 passer rating. Interestingly enough, the Jaguars are also one of just two teams who have yet to intercept Matthew Stafford—the other team being the Houston Texans.
And although Stafford was surprised to learn he hadn’t scored against the Jaguars, he very clearly remembered both games, instantly spouting out facts about the two previous matchups.
“Golly,” Stafford said in disbelief. “Calvin (Johnson) had 100 the week he couldn’t practice and he could only turn right. That was when we played at their place. He had a bad knee and he could only turn right. And then the other game was at home—I think we had 21 rushes for 14 yards or something like that [Editor’s note: That’s exactly correct.]. (Blake) Bortles turned it over a couple of times...”
Realizing he was back in memory lane, he snapped back to the original question.
“Yeah, we need to make that happen. Sorry for going back into the archives there, but, yeah, that’d be great. I’d love to have that on the tombstone one day or something.”
He’s got a great opportunity to do so this week. The Jaguars have the worst pass defense in the league according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA efficiency metric. They’re also allowing the second-highest passer rating in the league and have ceded 11 passing touchdowns in five games (fifth-most).
Coming out of the bye week with a fairly healthy squad on offense, it seems quite likely Stafford finally accomplishes that goal this week in Jacksonville. However, any tombstone talk seems quite premature.