Could Detroit Lions Be Real Winner of Goff-For-Stafford Trade?

Could Detroit Lions Be Real Winner of Goff-For-Stafford Trade?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

If the trade that saw former first-round draft choice quarterbacks Matt Stafford and Jared Goff swap jerseys was a three-act Broadway musical, the first act would finish with a rousing tune heralding Stafford’s new team, the Los Angeles Rams, as they celebrated their Super Bowl LVI win following the quarterback’s first campaign there in 2021.

Meanwhile, Act II would shift the scene to Detroit, where Goff had joined the long-suffering Lions in 2021. As the Rams and Stafford were being hailed in sunny California following the Super Bowl, the Lions would be preparing for another likely bleak season after they had trudged through an NFC-worst 3-13-1 campaign that also offered little cheer for their backers at online online Michigan sportsbooks.

And 2022 started in a predictably dismal manner in Detroit, with the team at 1-6 after seven games against tough opposition.

Then, something entirely unexpected happened – the Lions began winning and Goff started showing what made him the No. 1 overall pick by L.A., back in 2016.

In a remarkable stretch, the Lions have gone 6-1 since early November with Goff throwing for 11 TDs with just one interception as the offensive line has improved (just six sacks allowed in this seven-game span). Detroit has beaten all three rivals in the NFC North and, late in December, they are in the unfamiliar territory of being in the hunt for a wild card playoff berth. The Lions (7-7) are +125 to make the playoffs with DraftKings Michigan Sportsbook.

Los Angeles Rams Struggling As Lions Soar

Again, scene switch. This time back to Los Angeles. The confetti has long been swept up from L.A.’s SoFi Stadium, where the Rams won the NFL title on their home turf in February. Less than a year later, the team is an also-ran, out of the playoff chase at 4-10. Stafford, the quarterback who led them the previous year, is out for season. Various worrisome injuries, including being in concussion protocol twice, have some wondering if Stafford will (or should) retire.

Stafford has said that’s not in his plans.

And so, for Act III, there is the question of how has that trade worked out for the two teams?

Many NFL observers, both professionally and simply as fans, will say that any move that brings a Super Bowl championship is worth it, and so the Rams are automatic winners in swapping quarterbacks.

Stafford’s 2021 season that ended with a Lombardi Trophy was championship-caliber – more than 4,800 passing yards, 41 TD passes and a 67.2% completion percentage. That, some would argue, overshadows his 2022 season, in which he has played just nine games.

Future Implications For Goff-Stafford Trade

But looking more closely at the trade, there is more complexity. Stafford is 34 and just recently parried questions about retirement. Goff is 28 and has shown he has the grit to persevere through challenging times.

Act III also features the issue of draft choices.  The Rams surrendered two first-rounders (2022 and 2023) and a third-rounder along with Goff to the Lions. That draft capital might help make the Lions an enticing futures bet next season at Michigan sports betting apps regardless of how they finish this season.

Tracing the draft picks is a little complicated since the Lions traded one of them (the first-rounder in 2022) to Minnesota for other picks. But one of those resultant draft choices is wide receiver Jameson Williams, a star at Alabama who has one catch in his young NFL career for the Lions, a 41-yard TD (he was all alone) against the Vikings. Williams started playing recently after missing most of the season with an injury.

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Lions in Good Draft Position

For next year’s draft. Detroit has four picks in the first two rounds, and with their recent hot streak have come down to +2200 to win the NFC and +5000 to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl at BetMGM Michigan Sportsbook. The Rams, on the other hand, have no first-rounder in 2023 after the trade for Stafford and only a handful of picks through the rest of the draft in a “the future is now” strategy.

The vagaries of the NFL make it impossible to tell how the fortunes of the two teams will shift in future seasons. However, for the first time in many years in Detroit, it’s reasonable to think that the Lions have a chance to be belting out a joyful showstopper someday soon in the playoffs.

Either way, keep in mind when you’re hunting for Michigan sportsbook promos before you place a bet.



Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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