Bills-Bengals canceled, NFL releases possible playoff scenarios

Bills-Bengals canceled, NFL releases possible playoff scenarios

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(CDPR) — The NFL said Thursday it will not resume the Bills-Bengals game, which was suspended Monday night after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the field.

The league said some of the factors in its decision were that “the Buffalo-Cincinnati game not being played to the end has no bearing on which clubs qualify for the postseason. No club would qualify for the post-season and no club will be eliminated based on the outcome of that game.”

Additionally, the NFL said playing the game between the Bills and the Bengals would have required a week’s delay in the start of the playoffs and would have affected all 14 teams that qualified for the postseason.

The NFL said its decision creates “potential competitive imbalances in certain playoff scenarios.” The league said clubs would consider a resolution recommended by the commissioner and approved by the competition committee on Thursday at a special league meeting on Friday.

The Bills-Bengals game had a major impact on the playoffs for the AFC. Buffalo (12-3) started Monday night and needed a win to retain the AFC No. 1 seed. The Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) now hold that spot. The Bengals (11-4) had a chance to secure that top spot with two more wins and a Chiefs loss.

The scenarios approved by the Competitions Committee include a potentially neutral venue for the AFC Championship game. The league is considering multiple locations, including indoor and outdoor stadiums.

It’s a complex situation that the NFL has broken down into two elements for consideration. The full text of these items is below, as published by the NFL.

NFL playoff scenarios after Bills-Bengals cancellation

“1. The AFC Championship game will be played at a neutral venue if the participating teams play an unequal number of games and could both be seeded number one and host the game if all AFC clubs had played a full 17-game regular season. Under these circumstances, either Buffalo or Cincinnati as a road team will qualify for the game and are listed below:

scenario 1

Buffalo and Kansas City either win or both tie – a championship game between Buffalo and Kansas City would be played at a neutral venue.

scenario 2

Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or a tie — a championship game between Buffalo and Kansas City would be played at a neutral venue.

scenario 3

Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins — a championship game between Buffalo or Cincinnati and Kansas City would be played at a neutral venue.

2. If Baltimore beats Cincinnati in Week 18, it will have beaten Cincinnati, a division opponent, twice, but cannot host a playoff game because Cincinnati on a 16-game schedule has a higher win rate than Baltimore on a 17-game schedule.

If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati and if those two clubs play a wild card game against each other, the venue for that game will be determined by a coin toss. If Cincinnati wins the Week 18 game, or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play in the wild card round, the venues will be determined through regular scheduling procedures.

“In looking at the football plan, our principle has been to limit disruption across the league and minimize competitive disparities,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I realize that there is no perfect solution. However, the proposal we are asking owners to consider addresses the key potential equitable issues raised by the difficult but necessary decision not to play the game in these exceptional circumstances.”

Hamlin shows ‘remarkable recovery’

Hamlin has shown what doctors treating him are calling a “remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours,” the team said on Thursday, three days after the 24-year-old player had to be resuscitated on the field.

Doctors said Bills’ defense attorney could follow orders and even asked who won Monday night’s game, providing a written statement. Hamlin cannot speak yet as he is silent with breathing tube. From the hospital perspective, the next steps are further improvement, breathing independently and being ready to be discharged from the hospital

The Associated Press and WIVB contributed to this report.

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