Sun. Jan 29th, 2023
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The NFL officially cancelled Bills-Bengals. Here's what that means for the AFC playoffs

In the wake of Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest after a routine tackle on Monday night, no one in their right mind was thinking about the on-field football ramifications. While Hamlin continues to recover with powerful messages from his doctors, the NFL has started to slowly look ahead to January’s postseason a few days after the fact.

The big news (again, entirely ancillary to Hamlin’s health) is that the formerly suspended Bills-Bengals game from Monday is now officially cancelled and will not be resumed, per a league statement on Thursday night. The league cited that the decision will not affect who will qualify for the playoffs, nor will anyone be eliminated by the no-contest. In addition, having both teams still play would’ve required pushing back the playoff schedule by a week, something the league didn’t want to do in adherence to “competitive principles” for all 14 participating squads.

It’s a reasonable move that will have a lot of ramifications on the AFC playoffs:

Week 17 Buffalo-Cincinnati game will not be resumed. Clubs to consider neutral site AFC Championship game.

Full statement:

— NFL (@NFL) January 6, 2023

With the postseason just around the corner, here is the proposal the NFL has outlined that could come into play after Week 18 concludes this Sunday. Owners and clubs will vote on passing the proposal on Friday.


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