Matthew Stafford vs. Jared Goff in 2024 NFL playoffs: How Lions, Rams QBs have fared, who has the edge

Do you remember where you were on March 18, 2021? You can bet that Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford do. That’s the day the Pro Bowl quarterbacks swapped teams in a blockbuster trade that would go on to rewrite the state and future of two franchises.

At the time, and certainly a year after the Rams shipped Goff to the Lions in the deal that netted Stafford, you would’ve been hard-pressed to find an NFL expert who didn’t view Los Angeles as the clear winner. While Goff arrived in Detroit with twice as many playoff starts as Stafford, many considered the latter to be the superior player, and those opinions were all but validated when Stafford helped lead the Rams to an instant Super Bowl title in 2021.

But here we are, two more years down the road, and this trade has unfolded in decidedly even fashion — so much so that there is perhaps no greater anticipated game to start the 2023 NFL playoffs than Stafford’s Rams against Goff’s upstart Lions.

How did we get here? How have each of the QBs progressed — or otherwise — since their respective relocations? And which big-name signal-caller has the edge for Sunday night’s prime-time showdown? Let’s get to it.

The 2021 trade (and its immediate results)

Lions received:

QB Jared Goff, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, 2021 third-round pick

Rams received:

QB Matthew Stafford

When the Rams struck this deal, it was widely seen as an unlikely but admirable maneuver out of Goff’s $134 million contract, which he’d just signed two years prior. Goff experienced an early-career revival under coach Sean McVay, helping guide the Rams to Super Bowl LI in 2018, but he regressed thereafter, throwing 29 interceptions in a skittish decline from 2019-2020. Stafford, meanwhile, was widely viewed as a superior gunslinger who’d simply lacked a dynamite supporting cast over 12 years in Detroit.

This, therefore, was deemed an “all-in” move by the Rams to get…


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