DETROIT — The Detroit Lions will be short-handed when they face Green Bay for the NFC North title.
Lions center Dominic Raiola was suspended for one game after he stepped on Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson, the former LSU standout, on Sunday. The league said this was Raiola’s sixth rules violation related to player safety since 2010.
Lions players were not available to reporters Monday, and coach Jim Caldwell addressed reporters before the suspension was announced. Even then, Caldwell seemed aware of the possibility.
“I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent, but I could also see why it’s obviously being reviewed by the league and everybody is taking a real good look at it,” Caldwell said.
The Lions clinched a postseason berth Saturday when Washington beat Philadelphia, then Detroit (11-4) struggled through a 20-14 victory at Chicago that left unanswered questions about how this team measures up against the NFL’s best. The Lions are 9-1 against teams with losing records this season, while going 2-3 against teams above .500.
Detroit did beat Green Bay 19-7 back in September. The teams are tied for first heading into next weekend’s showdown at Green Bay, where the Lions have not won since 1991.
MANZIEL’S SEASON IS OVER: Johnny Manziel’s rookie season is over for the Browns, who may have to start rookie Connor Shaw in the season finale.
Manziel injured his hamstring in Sunday’s loss to Carolina, and coach Mike Pettine said Monday that the first-round pick will need several weeks to recover. Manziel, making his second start, got hurt in the second quarter against the Panthers and was replaced by Brian Hoyer, who suffered a shoulder injury in the second half.
Pettine said it may be several days before the Browns know if Hoyer can play on Sunday in Baltimore. If Hoyer can’t go, the team will turn to Shaw, an undrafted free agent, who spent the season on Cleveland’s practice squad.
Shaw went 27-5 as a starter for the Gamecocks.
HARBAUGH STILL MUM ON SPECULATION: Jim Harbaugh has kept quiet about the speculation surrounding his future for nearly a year. So he has no plans to participate now as he begins what could be his final week coaching the San Francisco 49ers.
He wouldn’t say whether 49ers executives had come to him to let him know if his alma mater, Michigan, reached out about bringing the coach to Ann Arbor.
“What will happen will happen, what won’t happen won’t happen,” Harbaugh said. “Like the players, like the coaches, we’re dedicated to doing our job, finish what you start. That’s the mindset.”
Harbaugh, who will turn 51 on Tuesday, has lost four straight games for the first time in his four-year stint. He has one year remaining on the $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011 to leave Stanford for the 49ers (7-8). San Francisco finishes its disappointing first season at $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium on Sunday hosting Arizona.
Around the league
Jets coach Rex Ryan, his job seemingly on the line as his team enters its Week 17 matchup at 3-12, had little to say about speculation about his job security. “I’m not worried about a coaching change or whatever,” he said. “I’m not even worried. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity that’s right in front of us, and that’s playing against Miami.” ... In the wake of Arizona’s 35-6 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday night, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he’s leaning toward starting rookie quarterback Logan Thomas in the regular-season finale at San Francisco. ... Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen will miss the final game of the season because of a concussion, and Jay Cutler will move back into the lineup Sunday at Minnesota.