As this is written, the Lions are slugging it out with the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North Division title. But the Motowners have already caught yet another major break.
The Washington Redskins, at home, went down to the NY Giants earlier today. That guarantees the Lions a spot as at least a wild card in the playoffs. In effect, so far, they have backed in.
The game going on against the Pack is crucial. The winner gets to play at home next week against the wild card Giants, while the loser has to hit the road and take on the Seattle Seahawks in the house of horrors in the great northwest.
Playing at home against the Giants, a very good team themselves at 11-5, is one thing, but perhaps manageable. But going to Seattle likely spells the end of the road for whichever team has the dubious honor of the trip. If so, it could well be another one and out in the playoffs for the Lions, which have never won a playoff game on the road since a decade before Super Bowls even started, and only one total at home, well over 20 years ago, at home.
Yet though it's long been forgotten, at least in Detroit, one particular play has made all the difference for the Lions. It happened in Minnesota against the Vikings, way back on Nov. 6. The Vikes had tied the score with seconds left in the game and had only to kick the point after touchdown to win it. But their place kicker, one Blair Walsh, missed it. A sure loss for the Lions turned into a gift from heaven win in over time.
This was "yuge", and yes, that word is spelled as intended. As in bigly (might as well go with the flow).
Had Walsh made that PAT, all but automatic for any NFL place kicker, the Lions would already be eliminated from the playoffs.
But they're improbably still alive.
Back to the game......