Welcome to the second edition of “Who to Rep,” our ongoing series in which we recommend a player to rep for the upcoming week. This could be a player poised for a big game, a return from injury, or even just someone whose birthday happens to land on game day. Or, put another way, this is a totally unscientific process but we hope you like it anyway.
This week’s pick is Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, officially holder of the richest guaranteed contract in all of professional football. That contract couldn’t have gotten off to much worse of a start for Stafford, whose first pass as the highest paid man in the NFL was a pick-6. Stafford turned it around in a big way, though, throwing for 292 yards, 4 TDs, and a 113.1 passer rating against one of last season’s toughest passing defenses. It’s not easy to throw up those kind of numbers against a secondary led by 3x All-Pro and 6x Pro Bowler Patrick Patterson, but Stafford (with a little help from Tate, Golladay, and the rest) found a way to stage yet another 4th quarter Lions comeback.
Things don’t get any easier next week, as the Lions head to New York to take on a Giants defense that last season held teams to both the second fewest total points and second fewest passing touchdowns in the league, giving up fewer than one passing TD per game. Led by 2016 All-Pro First Team members strong safety Landon Collins and cornerback Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins, that Giants secondary seems to be just as deadly this season, holding the explosive Cowboys offense to a single TD in Week 1 (though Dallas would win handily by shutting down New York’s ODB-less offense and kicking lots of field goals).
Stafford didn’t have great luck against the Giants defense last season, going scoreless (with one interception) in an 11-point loss. But that was then, and this is now, and with a so-far-so-good revamped offensive line and a diverse and deadly selection of receiving targets, Stafford has all the tools needed to avenge last season’s shortcomings and get the Lions off to a 2-0 start.
Rep Stafford this week to celebrate his historic long-term deal, and his stellar Week 1, sure, but also to show your Lions pride as he marches into Giants stadium next Monday for one of the toughest tests he’ll face this season.