Both teams in action tonight at Ford Field acquired new quarterbacks this off-season. The home team tonight, the Detroit Lions, traded one first pick in the draft quarterback for another, sending Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff.
In the deal, the Lions also received three draft choices, the third pick in this year’s allocation of college talent, a selection the Lions used to tab Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu with the 101st pick, and a pair first round choices in the coming two drafts. The trade assures this long suffering franchise an infusion of talent in the coming years.
The Rams hope those first round picks prove to be only one pick ahead of the first second round pick. With Stafford they view the future is now, and have players in their prime on both sides of the ball to win it all. The Lions primary gains from the trade appear to be in the bevy of high draft picks, but their real score could be in the shift of quarterbacks. It is worth noting that Jared Goff has a winning postseason record and led the Rams to the Super Bowl three years ago. Stafford has never won a postseason game. He’s created two tries.
The Rams attribute Goff’s success and Stafford’s failures on the rest of their teams, and Los Angeles management likes their chances of making Stafford a winner. If Goff lives up to the flashes of brilliance he has shown with the Rams, the Lions could get real good real quick, while the Rams are already rated near the top.
As for the Lions opponent tonight, the Colts traded a pair of draft choices; a third and conditional first, to the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz. The cautionary trial that follows Wentz is his propensity to suffer injuries. Some have been severe enough to end seasons, and others sidelining him for multiple weeks.
Four years ago, in his second season with the Eagles, Wentz was apparently on his way to the league’s MVP award when a 14th week of the season injury sidelined him for the year. There was a Most Valuable Player award winner that year in Philadelphia, but it was Nick Foles in the Super Bowl after he replaced Wentz and drove the Eagles to their only Super Bowl win in franchise history.
Now with the Colts, Wentz is facing the same problem … injuries. He underwent foot surgery early this month with a recovery period pinned between five and a dozen weeks. The Colts are hoping for a quick recovery period, and Wentz was back at practice this week and still contends he could be ready for opening day.
But not tonight.
That leaves the Colts quarterbacking up to the person who by default will get the starting role if Wentz isn’t ready in two weeks. Neither of his backups, Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger, have played well enough this month to earn the starting role.
While we won’t see Wentz at all tonight, how much playing time first-year head coach Dan Campbell will give Goff is debatable. Injuries are always a major concern and seemingly more stabbing when they occur in a meaningless preseason scrimmage, but Goff needs work with his new team and the Lions may just want to get a home win for the sparse crowd expected in downtown Detroit tonight.
The Colts defense can carry them far this season, and if Wentz avoids injuries he could earn the Eagles that first round pick based on his play. But tonight, that great defense will spend most the evening on the sideline and the home underdog Lions are in an ideal spot to pick up their only win of the preseason.
Qoxhi Picks: Detroit Lions (+2) over Indianapolis Colts