NFL

NFL cancels Bills-Bengals game, plans to vote Friday to implement two major changes to AFC playoffs

NFL cancels Bills-Bengals game, plans to vote Friday to implement two major changes to AFC playoffs

The NFL has canceled Monday night’s postponed Bills-Bengals game. The league also has scheduled voting for Friday with two AFC playoff adjustments on the table.

Meanwhile NFL‘s decision to cancel will not affect which teams make the playoffs, it may affect the standings, which is why the league has made several rule changes to equalize the competitive differences that the absence of the game will create.

Under a proposal to be voted on by the owners, the AFC Championship could become a neutral site game if one of the following three scenarios occurs:

  • Scenario 1: If Buffalo and Kansas City both win or tie in Week 18, Buffalo vs. Kansas City’s championship game would be at a neutral site.
  • Scenario 2: If the Bills and Chiefs lose in Week 18 and Baltimore wins or ties with the Bengals, the Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
  • Scenario 3: If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati beats Baltimore, Bills or Bengals vs. The Chiefs championship game would be at a neutral site.

The NFL gives the Ravens a chance to possibly host a wild-card game even though Baltimore cannot mathematically win the AFC North. Even if the Ravens win against the Bengals on Sunday, that would put them at 11-6, still a half game behind Cincinnati, who would finish 11-5 with a loss.

Under that scenario, the Ravens wouldn’t win the division, even if they eliminated the Bengals and were better ranked. To solve that problem, the proposal on the table is that the NFL will flip a coin to see who takes a Ravens-Bengals wild-card game:

1. The Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday, and…
2. If the two teams are scheduled to play each other in the wild card round.

Both the AFC Championship proposal and the Ravens proposal will be voted on on Friday.

“As we considered the football schedule, our principles throughout the league were to limit disruptions and minimize competitive disparities,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of why the league made those two decisions. “I recognize that there is no perfect solution. The proposal we are asking ownership to consider, however, addresses the most significant equity issues created by the difficult but necessary decision not to play in these exceptional circumstances.”

The situation Goodell is referring to is the situation involving Damar Hamlin. The Bills and Bengals played for nearly nine minutes Monday night before the game was stopped after a Bills safety went into cardiac arrest on the field. After giving CPR, it was Hamlin he was taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Centerwhere he has been in critical condition for the last three days.

The only thing on the NFL’s mind over the past 72 hours has been Hamlin’s health, which has improved significantly over the past 24 hours. Two members of Hamlin’s medical team he held a press conference on Thursday and revealed apart from moving his arms and legs, he has been able to communicate with friends and family in writing. (He Don’t even ask who won the Bills-Bengals game Wednesday night while communicating with a nurse.)

“It’s been a very difficult week,” Goodell said in a statement. “We remain focused on Damar Hamlin’s recovery and are encouraged by the improvement in his condition and the tremendous support and outpouring of care for Damar and his family from across the country.”

With Hamlin’s health improving, the NFL finally sat down to figure out what their next move should be with the Bills-Bengals game. That aside, the next step for the league will come Friday when the league votes to implement these two unusual playoff measures.

With the annulment, it will be the first time since 1935 NFL team he has not played the same number of games.





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