The Detroit Lions, after losing against the Green Bay Packers in what had become a Week 17 showdown for the NFC North title, now know that they will travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys in next week's Wild Card playoff game.
They will have to do so without one of their key players however after the NFL today confirmed that Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been suspended for the game after an incident in Sunday's game vs the Packers.
The inability to call upon their top defensive player is a huge blow to Detroit and their fans and, while the player has the opportunity to appeal the ban, should the suspension remain in place come January 4th it only adds to the difficult task of stifling a Dallas Cowboys offense that is in full swing just now.
The Detroit Lions themselves confirmed the news via their official Twitter account.
The reason Suh will be on the sidelines come the key playoff clash is because he is alleged to have engaged in "a violation of safety-related playing rules."
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More specifically the star defensive tackle stepped on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' calf with both feet. Although Suh did not look at his opponent during the act it appears that the NFL are certain the incident was intentional on his part.
The level of force, which you can seen in this video, certainly seems excessive.
Merton Hanks, Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL, explained the decision to suspend Suh for one game in a letter to the player himself.
"You did not respond in the manner of someone who had lost his balance and accidentally contacted another player who was lying on the ground," it reads.
"This illegal contact, specifically the second step and push off with your left foot, clearly could have been avoided."
Prior history and future impact
Ndamukong Suh is far from a stranger to NFL punishments. Indeed he was suspended in 2011 for a stomping incident on another then Packers player, Evan Dietrich-Smith.
This absence though will be much harder to swallow for Jim Caldwell and his team as they bid to limit a second-ranked rushing offense.
With Suh's fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley unlikely to play due to injury the Dallas Cowboys will be confident in their ability to rack up yards and points in a must-win game.