NFL: While Controversy Lingers, Lions Prepare for Playoffs

Detroit Lions Sport News


  • The Lions loss to the Cowboys was marred by a questionable flag thrown on Detroit’s late two-point conversion.
  • Detroit still has a path at the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but is most likely looking at the 3 seed and a date with the Rams and old friend Matthew Stafford.
  • The Lions haven’t won a playoff game since 1991, when they beat Dallas, 38-6.

The Detroit Lions have reported eligible for the playoffs. But just who they will face in the Wild Card Round is unknown.

Dallas beat the Lions 20-19 Saturday night – one of the wildest nights in Michigan sports betting history with the Pistons also breaking their 28-game losing streak, we called it  – when a game-winning two-point play was taken off the board by an official’s flag.

Days later, it’s still being discussed.

Detroit enters Week 18 a strong favorite at Michigan sportsbooks to take down the Minnesota Vikings. BetRivers and Caesars have Super Bowl odds posted and will have markets on each NFL game this week.

Reporting and Repercussions 

Lions quarterback Jared Goff engineered a marvelous drive in the final seconds to push the Lions to 20-19 with 23 seconds left. Lions head coach Dan Campbell opted not to kick the extra point and play for overtime, but go for two and the win.

The Lions ran what is called a ‘tackle eligible’ play, where Goff threw a pass to offensive lineman Taylor Decker for the score.

In football, a tackle eligible play is rare. Only players numbered between 1-49 and 80-89 can catch the ball and advance it. Any player who does not have that number must report to the officials that he is an eligible receiver. The official tells the defense so they can prepare accordingly.

Officials used to announce it to the crowd too, but the NFL discontinued that.

Did He Report? 

Referee Brad Allen’s crew flagged the Lions after Decker caught the pass, saying he never reported as eligible, therefore, it’s a flag when he caught the ball.

Campbell was furious after the play, and after the game said he had alerted the officials to the possible trick play. Video is inconclusive. Decker appears to talk to the officials, but so does back-up tackle Dan Skipper. Allen told officials after the game that Skipper said he was an eligible receiver, but Decker did not.

With the win over Detroit and the Eagles stunning loss to the Cardinals, the Cowboys have the 2 seed in the NFC because they have the tiebreaker over the Lions. All they have to do is beat the Commanders (DraftKings has them as 13.5-point favorites).

The call means that in the Divisional Round, the Lions – if they win the first round – wouldn’t be the home team. It’s a huge call.

Who’s On Deck for the Lions 

The Lions still have an outside shot at the two seed, but they 1. Have to beat the Vikings (they’re five-point favorites), 2. Have to have Dallas lose to Washington and 3. Need the Eagles to lose to the Giants (Eagles are six-point favorites).

If the Lions get to the 2 seed, they could host either the Rams, Seahawks, Saints of Packers, or even the Vikings in the first round.

Most likely, the Lions will stay as the 3 seed and face the red-hot LA Rams and former Lions star Stafford at Ford Field. The Rams have won six of their last seven. The Rams are pretty much set at the six seed no matter what happens in their game against the Niners.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.