PFF’s passing projections for LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford? Take the over
By Bret Stuter
LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford certainly had one helluva opening act for the Rams in just his first season for the team. Not only did he complete 404 of 601 passes for 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions, but he did so without much help from the LA Rams’ running game, and the roster had a revolving door at both the wide receiver and tight end positions virtually all season.
Despite all of those factors working against him, Stafford put up a record-setting season for the Rams franchise. In fact, he set the Rams’ All-Time Single Season Franchise record for passing yards and completions and tied the franchise singles season record for passing touchdowns.
And he did it all in just his first year with the team.
The most astounding part of it all is the fact that Stafford did not set his own personal best. He threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns to just 16 interceptions in 2011. He threw for 4,967 yards in 2012. Both of those passing yards happened in just 16 regular-season games.
Take the over on Matthew Stafford
All of this is simply background information for what comes next: Pro Football Focus has projected the 2022 passing yards for the NFL’s top quarterbacks. How does this all fold into their forecast?
For starters, I simply cannot envision any reason why Stafford will throw for fewer yards in 2022. No reason whatsoever. In fact, the LA Rams had two blowout leads in two games in 2021 that prompted the team to pull all of the starters out for the fourth quarter. In short, Stafford played all 17 games but had only 16.5 games worth of game clock to put up passing yards. Based on his 274.2 yards per game average, and the fact that he was pulled out of games where the Rams were decimating opposing defenses, I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to project him to 5000 yards in 2021 if he had played 17 full games.
From what we’ve seen from the 2022 NFL schedule, blowout leads at the end of three quarters seem unlikely.
What does seem likely is that in his second season with the LA Rams, Matthew Stafford should better his 2021 totals. By how much? With a receiving group of Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson starting at the three wide receiver spots and Tyler Higbee starting at tight end, the four could put up over 4,000 yards on their own.
Stafford at just 4,769 yards folks? Take the over. In fact, you should not be surprised if he sets career-high numbers this season. Is he that good? I think so. But he is superb as the pilot of the LA Rams’ high-flying offense. It seems that too few were paying attention in 2021. Hopefully, they’ll take better notes this year.