New Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford commented Wednesday on facing the Detroit Lions during the 2021 season.
As part of NFL Network's 2021 NFL schedule reveal, Stafford was asked about going up against his former team for the first time (beginning at the 2:20 mark):
Stafford said: "It'll be different. It's something I've never obviously experienced since I've played for the same franchise for 12 years, so this will be a new one for me. Obviously, a bunch of great friends on the other side of the ball and an organization I care a lot about, but that weekend I'll be doing everything I can to make sure that we come out on top."
The Rams will host the Lions at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on Oct. 24 in a Week 7 clash that will represent Stafford's first time facing the team he spent the first 12 years of his career with.
While Stafford is the greatest quarterback in Lions history from a statistical standpoint, the 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick only led Detroit to the playoffs three times in 12 seasons and never won a postseason game.
Despite that, the Rams view Stafford as the key to getting back to the Super Bowl, as they dealt 2022 and 2023 first-round picks and a 2021 third-rounder and quarterback Jared Goff to Detroit in exchange for the veteran signal-caller.
It was just three years ago that Goff, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, led the Rams to the Super Bowl where they lost to the New England Patriots.
Goff was a Pro Bowler that season with 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns that season, but his production dropped off the past two years, combining for just 42 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in 2019 and 2020.
While Goff did lead L.A. to the postseason and a playoff win last season, he seemed to be among the weakest links on a team with an elite defense and talented playmakers on offense.
The hope in Los Angeles is that head coach Sean McVay will be able to get the most out of the 33-year-old Stafford and guide him to one of the most productive seasons of his career.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Goff will look to prove in Detroit that he is still a capable starting quarterback in the NFL who could be the long-term answer under center for the Lions.
With both Stafford and Goff likely to face their former teams in Week 7 barring injury, there promises to be a ton of interest in that game among NFL fans.