- Who: Los Angeles Rams @ Detroit Lions
- When: Sunday, Jan 14 at 8pm ET
- Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
- How to watch: NBC
Storylines, storylines, storylines. Let’s start with the obvious one – Matthew Stafford returning to Detroit. Stafford spent 12 seasons in Motor City, before being traded to the Rams and bringing a Super Bowl to LA. Jared Goff went in the other direction and that’s worked out too, with the rejuvenated signal-caller leading the Lions to their first Playoff game since 2016.
The pair have met once since Stafford’s exit, the QB starring in a comfortable home victory back in 2021. Much has been made of the reception Stafford will receive on his return. We’re pretty sure he’ll get plenty of respect from the fans he served for over a decade. But probably not during the four quarters of football…
Detroit are perhaps the darling of this NFL season. Having suffered for so long, HC Dan Campbell has got the Lions purring, guiding them to a first ever NFC North title and their first divisional win since 1993.
Two rookies have lit up the league this year. One is Sam LaPorta, a tight end who has quickly filled the void left by TJ Hockenson. LaPorta set a record for most receptions by a rookie TE and was one of four players to get 10 or more touchdowns this season. The Lions are only the second team in NFL history to achieve that feat.
The other first-year star is Jahmyr Gibbs, also with 10 touchdowns, who has formed the most explosive 1-2 punch in the league alongside fellow RB David Montgomery. Pro-Bowl snub Amon-Ra St. Brown is the final piece of the weaponry after a stunning 1,500-yard season.
BUT if we’re talking about breakout stars, we need to talk about Puka Nacua. With 105 receptions and 1,486 yards, the Rams WR broke both rookie records, shining alongside the usual star of the show, Cooper Kupp.
The Rams are rolling and enter the Playoffs with full momentum, Just one loss from nine – and that was in OT, in Baltimore, against the AFC top seeds. The Lions stuttered a little with their performances down the stretch, but they were clicking again in the final weeks. And who knows where they’d be had it not been for that controversial call in Dallas.
This could be one for the ages.