After LA Rams rested key starters, Stafford is ready to be "...the bad guy."

Los Angeles Rams, Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams, Matthew Stafford / Mike Lawrence/GettyImages

The LA Rams were in the 2024 NFL Playoffs. But due to the undecided matter of whether the Rams would be a sixth-seed, and travel to face the Detroit Lions, or a seventh-seed, and travel to face the Dallas Cowboys, was still up in the air. Despite what has turned out to be the outcome of the Rams defeating the San Francisco 49ers without their key starters, the Rams took a risk and sat five of their players, all healthy scratches, in Week 18.

And yet, the Rams won that 18th and final game anyways.

Don't believe what you may have read on social media. The LA Rams sat five to start the game, but as the game progressed, the Rams pulled more and more starters from the game. Once rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua had shattered receiver records for a rookie, he sat. But as long as he was in the game, he was doubled by the 49ers starting secondary.

After their Week 10 BYE, the LA Rams went on a 7-1 run to the NFL Playoffs. While not every starter sat in Week 18, the Rams believe that enough key players sat on the sidelines in Week 18 to recharge the team. I, for one, think that there is some merit to that strategy.

LA Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is not kidding himself, nor is he trying to avoid the impact and experience rainbow of emotions that he will undoubtedly feel when he steps onto the football field for the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs, a game that pits the LA Rams (10-7) against the Detroit Lions (12-5).

In fact, he is looking forward to it:

"I understand what the people of Detroit, and the city of Detroit, meant to me in my time and in my career, (and) what they meant to my family. I hope they feel that back, but at the same time I'm not a stranger to the situation in understanding that I'm the bad guy coming to town, you know? I'm on the other team, and they don't want success for me. Whatever happens happens."

Matthew Stafford

It's clear that Matthew Stafford is mentally prepared for whatever faces him this Sunday. The LA Rams did not trade a king's ransom for a quarterback who wilts in tough competitive scenarios. It's far more likely that by facing his former team, Rams veteran QB Matthew Stafford could put on one of the best games of his long NFL career.

Yes, he's that guy.

Becoming an elite NFL player is more than prodding fans in the stands to their loudest and longest cheers. It also means compelling fans to their loudest and longest boos and jeers as well. I truly believe that the Detroit Lions fans will shower Matthew Stafford relentlessly with boos the entire game.

I also truly believe that Matthew Stafford will not only not pay them any heed, but that he would not want it any other way.

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