Lions-Fans and so called TV experts want Matthew Stafford to be the league’s MVP. I don’t know any logical reason why he should win this award at this point. What do we expect from a QB that becomes the MVP? Pretty simple: he scores. His offenses score points and he is the guy that takes care of scoring points. If you take a look back to 1996: Only one single QB who became MVP had a scoring offense outside the top-6. It was Peyton Manning in 2008 with the 15th-best scoring offense. The Lions scored 21.1 offensive points per game, which ranks 18th in the league.
What has Matthew Stafford done this season? Jim Bob Cooter simplified the system for Stafford, so that the majority of his passes are screens, short or intermediate plays into space. JBC is looking for opportunities to let their athletic receivers make plays. 55% of Staffords passing yards have come AFTER the catch. That’s the highest percentage in the league across all starting QBs. The output is 21 TD to 5 INT. Stafford doesn’t turn the ball over. Does this make him an MVP candidate?
The Lions can’t score in the red zone. They only convert 55.6% of their red zone trips into TDs. That ranks 17th. Red zone TDs per game? 1.6 (24th). Matt Prater scored 101 of Detroit’s total 275 points – 36.7%. Defense and special teams accounted for an estimated 23 points (too lazy to go through all the games).
People keep saying: ‘They are 8-4 and wouldn’t be there without Stafford’ or ‘They don’t have a defense’. Is this true? The Lions rank #15 in scoring defense and baited them out several times this year:
Week 5, 14-2 penalties advantage, two key plays in the end: Slay intercepts Wentz
Week 7, key play: Forced fumble at the own goal line
Week 9, Blair Walsh’s FG is blocked, also missed a PAT. Lions D gets a 4th down stand at their own 6. Vikings pull away anyway 16-13, because Lions can’t score. 58yd Prater FG saves them OT, they get the ball and Ebron/Tate combined for 30 yards after catch and a freakish TD.
Week 11, pick-six and game-icing INT: Rafael Bush returns INT for six
Week 12, game-deciding pick which led to the win: Slay picks off Bradford
These are five wins in which the Lions needed tremendous help from their defense or special teams and the offense only needed to score 13-23 points. At the end Stafford got 5 QB wins and he also got 1 game-winning drive vs the Vikes when all he did was a kneel down after Bradford’s interception.
The Lions were behind in the fourth quarter in 11 out of their 12 games. That fact alone is crazy. They weren’t behind because of their defense. Their defense did everything they needed to do. They were behind because their offense couldn’t score and couldn’t pull away. They even held the Titans to 16 points at home. Not enough.
NFL QBs who become MVPs lead good scoring offenses. Matthew Stafford doesn’t do that. He just doesn’t turn the ball over. Stafford’s 2016 season hasn’t been an MVP season so far. It’s far away from that.