Currently sitting with the final seed in the NFC and a definite dog in the wild card fight, the Detroit Lions are in a better position now than they have been in some time. Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings almost went differently, though, and had it, they would be in a much, much different position. That facemask penalty at the end of the game is something that's actually missed rather frequently near the end of football games, but it's something that could have put Minnesota in line to win the game if it were called. Detroit should have had that game under wraps much sooner than that.
Fox Sports keeps the Lions where they were last week in their Week 15 NFL power rankings:
11. The outcome of Sunday's game against the Vikings could have been very different if the referee actually saw the face mask penalty on the game-ending sack/fumble. The Lions defense played opportunistic football in the back half, and actually forced Vikings QB Christian Ponder out of the game early. But the Lions will need to re-establish their defensive identity if they want to continue the push to the playoffs. Albeit without the personal foul penalties . . .
Those penalties most definitely hurt the Lions, and they should treat the facemask no-call penalty at the end of last week's game as one that still went against them. There's just so many penalties that it's bound to hurt them in the playoffs if they don't correct it.