At first, I assumed that a curse had befallen the NFC North. There's no way this much bad could happen to the entire division on one day without some trickery of the supernatural kind. Watching the Lions win unfold, it suddenly made sense.
The Lions had sucked out every bit of luck from the rest of the Black and Blue division.
It started early, when Bears wideout Johnny Knox suffered a frightening injury in the first quarter of the Bears loss to the Seahawks. Knox's back was bent at an awkward angle, and he was carted off the field and to the hospital on a board. Knox has full movement in his extremities and a positive prognosis. He will undergo surgery to stabilize vertebrae on Monday.
Losing Knox left the Bears with just four active receivers after Sam Hurd's release. Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges on Thursday. Chicago's already hobbled secondary took another hit when Chris Conte injured his foot. The Bears gave up 31 unanswered points in the loss to Seattle.
In Kansas City, the Packers did not look like an undefeated team, and they were no longer undefeated by the end of the game. Stupid penalties and an effective pass rush plagued the team. Kyle Orton outthrew Aaron Rodgers, and they couldn't get into the end zone until the third quarter. Already playing without James Starks, Greg Jennings and Bryan Bulaga, the Pack also lost rookie offensive lineman Derrek Sherrod to a broken leg.
The Vikings actually looked like they had luck on their side, with Adrian Peterson playing again for the first time since Nov. 20. They went injury-free, but they were on the wrong side of a Drew Brees offensive explosion. The New Orleans quarterback threw for 412 yards, and was 32 for 40. He had five touchdowns, and was not picked off or sacked once by Minnesota.
This takes us to Oakland, where Detroit was down 27-14 halfway through the fourth quarter. Matthew Stafford hit Titus Young and Calvin Johnson for touchdowns to put the Lions up by one with 39 seconds left. The Raiders moved the ball to their own 47. Sebastian Janikowski came out to attempt a 65-yard field goal, two more yards than his record. The Lions blocked the punt, ensuring the win and sustained playoff hopes.
Clearly, the Lions luck on their side, while the rest of the NFC North walked under ladders while breaking mirrors as black cats crossed their paths.