Talk about irony? The LA Rams and the Detroit Lions are two of the oldest franchises in the history of the NFL. While neither team is quite to the 100-year mark, both are closing in on that landmark rapidly, And both NFL teams, over the span of their long history, have certainly had a long line of accomplishments and postseason competition.
And yet, when the Rams and Lions step onto Ford Field for the Sunday Night Football version of the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs, it will mark only the second time that these two teams have faced off in postseason competition.
That is unbelievable.
The LA Rams are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. And over the past eight games, this team has taken on, and taken down, some of the best teams in the leagues. That is particularly true when it comes to their defenses. But the Rams have had the opportunity to know and understand their competition this season. But do the LA Rams truly know and understand the Detroit Lions?
When it comes to the Dan Campbell era Detroit Lions, I am not so sure.
The only game featurng the McVay Rams vs the Campbell Lions fell on October 24, 2021, when the Rams (5-1) hosted the Lions (0-6) at SoFi Stadum. What should have been a blowout on paper ended up being a much closer game than many expected. While Rams QB Matthew Stafford tossed three touchdowns in that game, to Lions QB Jared Goff throwing one touchdown and two interceptions, the Rams had to rally with 11 unanswered points to win that game.
The Rams would go on to win the Super Bowl that year. But after the game, Stafford had this to say about his former team:
"Detroit is a tough out. Always have been, probably always will be. Just happy to get one."- Matthew Stafford
While I believe that the Rams are as talented this year, the Lions are far more improved than their 3-13-1 season. And this game is played at the Detroit Lions' home field, Ford Field.
While I love the Rams chances in this one, keep in mind that the Lions have taken on the gritty blue collar attitude of Coach Campbell, and will not go down without a fight. In terms of football presence, you can forget about NFL Playoff tiebreakers as well. The Lions finished the 2023 NFL season with a record of 12-5, which is identical to that of the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.
The Rams are unfamiliar with the Detroit Lions because they seldom face them in a football game. The Rams and the Lions will have a chance to clash this Sunday. But what these two teams do not know about one another can hurt them.