Matthew Stafford exited the Detroit Lions’ recent loss with a hand injury, and the quarterback isn’t a lock to start in Week 14.
Kyle Meinke of MLive notes Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he doesn’t know whether the injury to Stafford’s throwing hand will affect his ability to play.
“We’ll have to kind of see how that goes, to be honest with you. any time that you’re dealing with a throwing hand, it’s not going to be easy. We’ll see how it heals.”
The injury occurred in Week 13 against the Baltimore Ravens. During the fourth quarter, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs stepped on Stafford’s hand. The quarterback immediately went to the locker room and did not return in the 44-20 loss.
Should Stafford be unavailable against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his streak of 111 consecutive starts would end. Opening the clash with the Ravens broke a tie with former Buffalo Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson for the 10th-longest span in NFL history.
And it would also mean Detroit’s slim playoff hopes may disappear completely.
The 6-6 Lions cannot afford another loss, largely because they don’t hold tiebreakers against the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons. Each of those NFC South franchises are at least one game ahead in the standings.
Put simply, Detroit would much rather have Stafford leading a last-ditch playoff charge than Jake Rudock.