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Stafford likely to start against the Bills

By Imperical Evidence

Daunte Culpepper sustained a minor cut to his toe at his home Saturday evening. The cut required eight stitches to close , but Culpepper may still be able to play Thursday against the Bills. Daunte Culpepper only attempted one deep pass against the Colts , to Calvin Johnson , that went incomplete. He did have one short TD pass.

Drew Stanton had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee two years ago as a rookie. He experienced swelling in his left knee and the Lions sent him to get an MRI. The results aren't known yet, but the Lions don't believe it's serious. Stanton didn't have any problems immediately following the Lions' 18-17 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts.
More importantly , the Lions have practice today and tomorrow , and travel Wednesday. Stanton had his number of reps in practice cut back last week , before the Colts game. I would consider him out of the running for the #1 quarterback spot.

Matthew Stafford took all the snaps in practice today. Stafford will also probably get most , if not all , of the snaps during the Tuesday practice. That leads me to believe Stafford will be the starting quarterback for the Lions on Thursday against the Buffalo Bills.
This would be his chance to redeem himself after a bad start on the road against the Cleveland Browns in week two of pre season. Stafford has already done that to some extent against the Colts , attacking downfield with his passes. He has been the most aggresive Lions quarterback by far , with Culpepper throwing short screens and checkdowns. There's no question Detroit Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford is willing to stretch the field , that was apparent from the darts in threw on the 37-yard completion to Calvin Johnson and the 40-yarder he threw to rookie Derrick Williams. They were both laser throws. The one to Derrick Williams was directly on target in a small window. A glimpse of a very exciting future for all Lions fans watching. Matthew Stafford will start this year , and maybe even sooner than my original prediction of week 8.

The safe , short passing game of Daunte Culpepper isn't exciting , but he dosen't turn the ball over. Stafford has shown flashes of great play , and the coaching staff isn't saying anything about the starting role yet. If Matthew stafford can start against the Bills and play well , I think he has the inside track to being named the starter for the Detroit Lions for the regular season. Ok , so we know Stafford can play very well if the offensive line can establish the run and Stafford has time to throw the ball. Thats exactly what happened against the Colts.

The numbers:

M. Stafford 13 completions with 19 attempts , 68.4 completion percentage , 160 total passing yards , 0 TDs , 1 INT.

D. Culpepper 7 completions with 12 attempts , 58.3 completion percentage , 67 total passing yards , 1 TD , 0 INTs.

D. Stanton 4 completions with 6 attempts , 66.7 completion percentage , 56 total passing yards , 1 TD , 0 INTs.

To get a clearer look at what really happened , one should know that the Colts defense operated without linebacker Gary Brackett , cornerback Kelvin Hayden , safety Bob Sanders , ends Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock and tackle Ed Johnson. Thats 3 defensive linemen not playing. The Lions offensive line had a great game , leading the way for 25 Lion first downs. The Colts had 17 first downs. The Lions dominated the time of posession by nearly 9 minutes. The Lions had a 3rd down efficiency of 60% , going 9 for 15 on 3rd down. The Colts offense had a 3rd down efficiency of 33%.

The running game was spured on by the offensive line. The Lions gained 102 yards against the Browns last week. This week they ran for 151 yards. 3 running backs had a rushing average of over 5 yards per carry:

Kevin Smith - 6.3 yards per carry
Aaron Brown - 5.3 yards per carry
Tristan Davis - 5.5 yards per carry

Aveion Cason survived the first round of cuts , rushing 2 times and gaining 5 yards for an unimpressive average of 2.5 yards per carry. Cason has returned 105 kicks in his career. 4 of them have been for over 40 yards , 0 of them have resulted in a touchdown. Somehow Cason is still here.

Julian Peterson had a very nice game , getting 6 tackles to lead the Lions. A player worth mentioning is DeAndre Levy , who had 4 tackles. He has also played well in the other games.

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