No Thanksgiving game, fewer Rams’ Matthew Stafford – NFL Nation remnants

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THOUSAND EGE, California – Matthew Stafford loves to indulge in sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, turkey and pecan pie on Thanksgiving.

For 12 seasons, the Pro Bowl quarterback enjoyed what appeared to be the perfect holiday routine.

He wanted to dress up for a kickoff in the middle of the day when the Detroit Lions host an annual Thanksgiving Day game, and then arrived home around 6 p.m. 17 to enjoy a hearty meal and watch the final NFL game that night.

“Felt almost like a fan there or a little bit, had a bunch of family in town,” Stafford recalled earlier in the week. “We came back to the house and ate food and dinner and all that sort of thing, and it was a lot of fun to have the next few days free. You could eat leftovers and make all the fun stuff.”

Stafford was not sure what to expect from his family’s first Thanksgiving in Southern California without an NFL game to attend, but the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback knew one thing for sure: Remains were probably off the table given the necessary preparation for Sunday’s game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (8-3) at Lambeau Field (16:25 ET, Fox).

“We should definitely take it easy, which is hard to do,” Stafford said, chuckling. “But you know, little sacrifices you have to make.”

Small sacrifices, in fact, for what the Rams hope is a significant turnaround against a Packers team that knocked them out in the division round in the playoffs last season.

Stafford, who came to LA via a huge success during the offseason, was not part of last season’s disappointing 32-18 defeat, but has his own trying story against his former division enemy. Stafford is 7-13 against the Packers, 4-12 head-to-head against Rodgers and 3-7 at Lambeau Field, though he still describes the historic venue as one of his favorite places to play in the NFL.

“I love playing in the snow there,” Stafford said. “It’s what you dream of as a kid, getting to play the Packers at Lambeau Field in the snow.”

The current weather forecast for Sunday in Green Bay calls for partly cloudy and 36 degrees, perhaps not the dreamy scenario for Stafford, but undoubtedly a welcome for a 7-3 Rams team that comes from a farewell and needs to turn a losing streak on two games where Stafford has thrown four interceptions, which equates to the number of picks he threw through the first eight games of the season.

All four recent interceptions were thrown in the first half, and each was turned into touchdowns by their opponents, digging the Rams down significant holes.

“Looking at it, what I think really stands out to me is that he’s played great football over those 10 games,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Stafford. “There have been a few things lately that have not been consistent with the way he has played.”

Stafford pointed to the revenue margin as a simple way to turn wealth around. The Rams are 7-0 when they win the turnover match, 0-3 when they lose it.

“Would like to do a better job of just in every single game, in every single game, every single situation, trying to make the right decision,” said Stafford, who after the losses to the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers acknowledged, that he tried to be overly aggressive in some scenarios, leading to turnovers, rather than throwing the easy pass. “From a personal point of view, that’s what I focus on the most.”

Despite recent problems, Stafford still owns the NFL’s No. 1 overall quarterback rating of 67.9, throws 24 touchdown passes with eight interceptions, and drives the Rams to an average of 27.1 points per game. match, which is ranked No. 4 in the league.

“He does such a great job of being consistent, but also making some great throws and games, and as he has done throughout his career,” said Kevin O’Connell, Rams’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “Just choosing his seats to really understand when one might have to push the boundaries of a decision and rely on his ability to make some narrow window throws instead of checking the ball down, throwing finishes, getting started – all that. allow the consistency of our offense in a way that can be addressed. “

It is uncertain exactly what form the offense will take on Sunday as McVay continues to adjust his schedule following the season-ending injury to No. 2 receiver Robert Woods, who tore his left ACL ahead of week 10 and was addicted to short, medium and deep . routes along with serving as an occasional threat out of the backfield.

“It’s a collective group that somehow fills some of those responsibilities,” O’Connell explained, “while understanding how we might need to adjust and adapt to what our offensive might look like now, compared to then. you had a player like Robert Woods. “

Cooper Kupp remains the NFL’s leading receiver with 1,141 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns, tied with Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans for the NFL lead. Second-year pro Van Jefferson has become a trusted target for Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr., who the Rams signed earlier this month, is fast learning the offense. McVay said he expected to see a lot of him on Sunday.

“I’ve been really impressed with what he’s been able to understand so far,” Stafford said of Beckham, who caught two passes on 18 yards against the 49ers before saying goodbye.

McVay, who was an early frontrunner for the NFL’s most valuable player, expressed confidence that Stafford will return to form as the Rams prepare for the seven remaining games of the regular season and playoffs.

“He’s a great player,” McVay said. “I think he’s going to play really well down the stretch for us.”

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