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NFL owners pass resolution for potential neutral-site AFC title game

By newadmin / Published on Friday, 06 Jan 2023 21:09 PM / No Comments / 4 views

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NFL owners passed a resolution Friday that could alter AFC playoff sites in response to the cancelation of Week 17’s Bills-Bengals game.

As part of the modification, the AFC Championship Game can be played at a neutral site depending on the outcomes of ChiefsRaiders, PatriotsBills and RavensBengals in Week 18. 

Here’s what will happen in the AFC Championship Game in the eight possible scenarios this weekend.

  • Chiefs, Bills and Bengals win: Chiefs-Bills would be played at a neutral site; Chiefs-Bengals would be played in Kansas City. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Chiefs, Bills, Bengals.
  • Chiefs and Bills win, Bengals lose: Chiefs-Bills would be played at a neutral site; Chiefs-Bengals would be played in Kansas City. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Chiefs, Bills, Bengals
  • Chiefs win, Bills and Bengals lose: Chiefs would host AFC Championship Game no matter the opponent. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Chiefs, Bills, Bengals.
  • Chiefs and Bengals win, Bills lose: Chiefs would host AFC Championship Game no matter the opponent. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Chiefs, Bengals, Bills.
  • Bills win, Chiefs and Bengals lose: Bills would host AFC Championship Game if it makes it there; Chiefs would host AFC Championship Game against Bengals if both make it there. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Bills, Chiefs, Bengals.
  • Bills and Bengals win, Chiefs lose: Bills would host AFC Championship Game if it makes it there; Chiefs would host AFC Championship Game against Bengals if both make it there. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Bills, Chiefs, Bengals.
  • Chiefs, Bills and Bengals lose: Chiefs-Bills would be played at a neutral site; Chiefs-Bengals would be played in Kansas City. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Chiefs, Bills, Bengals.
  • Bengals win, Chiefs and Bills lose: Chiefs-Bills would be played at a neutral site; Chiefs-Bengals would be played at a neutral site. No. 1-3 seeds in order: Chiefs, Bengals, Bills.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would determine the neutral site of the conference title game, if necessary. 

The amendment was reached in the aftermath of Monday’s Bills-Bengals game being ruled a no contest after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. On Friday, Hamlin’s agent said the 24-year-old is breathing on his own and able to speak — the latest steps in his remarkable recovery. The Bills noted in a social media post that Hamlin joined their morning meeting via Facetime. 

As Hamlin’s teammates try to better position themselves this weekend in the AFC playoff picture, the Bengals and Ravens will be competing with the possibility of a coin flip determining where they open the postseason. 

The Bengals were named AFC North champs on Thursday but aren’t guaranteed to host in the wild-card round. If Cincinnati loses to Baltimore on Sunday and the Chargers beat the Broncos, the Bengals would face the Ravens in the opening playoff round. Because the Ravens won both regular-season matchups against the Bengals in that scenario, a coin flip would determine who would host their playoff game. 

Bengals coach Zac Taylor expressed his disapproval of the proposal while speaking with reporters Friday prior to its passing.

“As far as I’m concerned, we just want the rules to be followed,” Taylor said, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. “When a game is canceled, you just turn to winning percentage to clarify everything so we don’t have to make up rules.”

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