Detroit Lions: Is Matthew Stafford Consistent Enough to Get to the Playoffs?

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIINovember 12, 2011

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass as Stephen Peterman #66 prepares to block Matt Toeaina #75 of the Chicago Bears during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 19-14.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At 6-2, the Detroit Lions have already won as many games as they did all of last season, and they are in good position to nab a wild-card bid going into a pivotal game with the Chicago Bears this week.

Third-year quarterback Matthew Stafford has been a huge part of that success, throwing for 2,179 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions and maintaining a 99.1 quarterback rating through the first eight games.

In Detroit's two losses, however, Stafford has had some struggles.

In their first loss against the San Francisco 49ers, Stafford completed a mediocre 56 percent of his passes and was sacked five times. He also threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort, so it's hard to fault him. But in the end, he wasn't able to lead his team to a win.

Just a week later against the Atlanta Falcons, Stafford had his worst game of the year. In a 23-16 loss, the Georgia product completed just 15-of-32 passes, a 46.9 percent completion percentage, for 183 yards and a touchdown.

Stafford has had a great season, but questions remain whether he has the ability and consistency to be successful down the stretch and get the Lions to the playoffs. However, if the Lions don't make it to the playoffs, I don't think it will be Stafford's fault.

The Lions have not helped their young quarterback out much with a severe lack of a running game, though, much of that can be attributed to the loss of rookie Mikel Leshoure for the season. On top of that, the offensive line hasn't been world-beating by any means.

Stafford and the Lions have had their share of drives stall on them, but in reality it's hard to argue against this kid. The stats speak for themselves, and if they can sweep the Bears this weekend, they have the inside track to a playoff berth along with the division-leading Green Bay Packers.