I: The pressure is all on the Lions and Goff
The LA Rams may be the underdog in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs, but that works in their favor in this one. The fear of failure runs deep in the Detroit Lions, whether as an obvious concern or simply something that is gnawing away at the players and coaches subconsciously. And while we can only speculate as an outside observer, it will definitely play a factor in this game.
Think about the words of your father if you even climbed a tree: "Don't look down." was his sage advice. If you did look down, you realized what slipping and falling could do to you, and the chances of slipping and falling increase. Or put it another way . . . when you first learned to ride a two wheel bicycle, you undoubtedly were doing fine until someone foolishly announced to you: "Look at that, you are doing it!" Almost instantly after hearing those words, you struggle to pedal and often would fall to the ground.
The human brain is a curious thing. It has the power to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or as some motivational speakers will charge you hundreds of dollars to hear: The Power of Positive Thinking
In an NFL playoff game, the opposite of positive thinking is just as likely to occur. If a player enters the game or a play thinking 'I hope I don't screw this up,' then the outcome may be unfortunate simply be the realization that the outcome of that play or game can end up in the realm of a negative experience.
While Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff has played very well for his team, and certainly deserves a contract extension, he has been hammered by the questions that force him to confront the obvious: How will he approach and perform in a game against his former head coach and former team? Since the Rams traded Jared Goff, he is 0-1 against his former team.
So why isn't there any pressure on the LA Rams for this game? Let's think about the preseason projections and expectations. Nobody expected the Rams to even win eight games this season, let alone be in the playoffs. With no expectations, the Rams are playing with house money, and enter the 2024 NFL Playoffs with no pressure or expectations.
I like the LA Rams chances this weekend. Stay tuned