The second half of the NFL 2023 Playoffs double header on Sunday night takes us to Ford Field where the NFC North champions Detroit Lions go up against the six seeds in the NFC in the form of the Los Angeles Rams.
The match pits Jared Goff against Matt Stafford in a clash which if it was a few years ago would have seen them playing for the other team so that will add fuel to the fire in this one. The winner will be two wins away from the Super Bowl so this should be very competitive.
The Detroit Lions won the NFC North title for the first time this season with some excellent performances and their reward for that is a first playoff game in eight years so this is obviously a big night for all connected with the Lions. They will need to make sure that they play the match rather than the occasion but if they can do that then they have a side who could go quite deep in this postseason if they can avoid key injuries.
The Lions have one of the most powerful offenses in the league with the partnerships between Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown and Goff and the rookie tight end Sam Laporta being particularly key but they have a couple of good running backs and a pass rusher who can have the opposing quarterback under pressure so if the magnitude of the game doesn’t get the better of what is a fairly young Detroit side then they should perform well and would have every chance.
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Los Angeles Rams
It was always going to be a tough ask for the Los Angeles Rams to make the playoffs this season. Even before a ball was kicked in the league the San Francisco 49ers looked like a brilliant team in their division so while they wouldn’t have laid down and accepted that they needed to use a wildcard to get into the postseason, they would have known that was the likely scenario so they deserve full credit for achieving the aim and now they need to pick up a road win.
The Rams were probably expected to transition this season but their offense has reformed quicker than many predicted and they managed to finish second in the NFC West and secure the wildcard as a result. Matt Stafford used to have a reputation for faltering in the big matches when he was a Detroit Lions player so he will be looking to prove a point here. Much like the Lions, the Rams have a roster that should be suited to the demands of the playoffs if their young players don’t freeze on the occasion.
I’m reluctant to get behind these two teams because there are a number of young players on them and there is the tendency for them to freeze in the early stages. If I had to pick a team I would go with the Los Angeles Rams as a number of their players were around when they won the Super Bowl a few years ago and have that experience to draw back on but I think this could quickly turn into something of an offensive shootout so it is the over that I like here.
Generally when Detroit win they dominate their opponents with big plays and plenty of offensive power but the Rams can go toe-to-toe with anyone in that department. Los Angeles have scored 28 points or more in five of their last seven matches with one of the two they didn’t get that many coming against San Francisco 49ers who nobody scores big on. Detroit have scored 30 or more in four of their last six so I’m not convinced that a 51.5 point line is high enough here.
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