We all know that Matthew Stafford is tough, but this week, he may be taking that reputation to a new level. After suffering a rib injury in the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers, many understandably wondered if he had played his last game of the season—maybe the last of his entire Lions career. A day later, when it was reported that Stafford was dealing with an “unbelievable amount of pain,” it seemed certain that shutting him down was only a matter of time.
But according to both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport, Stafford has improved enough throughout the week—despite not practicing until very late on Friday—that he is now expected to start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
“#Lions QB Matthew Stafford (rib/thumb) is expected to start today vs. the #Titans, source said, a decision clinched when he jumped into a drill on Friday and realized he could throw without too much pain,” Rapoport tweeted early on Sunday.
Stafford has been playing extremely well since the team made a change at head coach. Under interim coach Darrell Bevell he has posted his two of his best PFF grades of the season, and has been the second-best quarterback over those two weeks, per PFF’s metrics.
Despite the Lions having very little on the line this week—their playoff odds are under a single percentage point—we probably should have seen this coming. Stafford has battled through many injuries in his career. Heck, he even told us this week he wasn’t ready to pack it in.
“I need to be able to play and play at a high level. It’s going to take some time. Going to have to rest, but I’m not counting myself out.”
See you at kickoff, nine.