Let’s delve into what happened and how this could result in the cancellation of the game, whether playing at a neutral site could provide one benefit. A possibility is now looming, causing acrimony on many fronts. The league is now staring down a very real scenario where the AFC Championship game could be played at a neutral site, and the playoffs are rolling on and recovering. Thankfully, the problems created by game cancellations are still being addressed by Hamlin.
This year marks the third since the NFL expanded its playoffs, with the top rankings compensating the bracket by re-seeding after each round. The edge would have the No. 1 seed, retaining home field advantage until the championship game, where they would meet the team seeded No. 2. The system also removed the bye for the top two teams.
In order to maintain the advantage of playing at home, the No. 2 seed should also use this opportunity to secure a spot in the conference championship, as it means that the No. 1 seed would be eliminated beforehand.
After 10 steps, a tiebreaker is employed to resolve a deadlock — in case teams are somehow equal, progressively narrowing down based on total victories against the conference, commencing with a mere 11 possible tiebreaker situations, there exists a multi-tiered system to resolve stalemates if two teams qualify for the playoffs with identical overall records.
Why Bills vs. Bengals was the ideal combination
When Cincinnati traveled to Buffalo, it was a game that had implications ranging beyond the result of the game itself, as the playoffs could completely shift based on the outcome, given that it was the No. 3 seed versus the No. 2 seed.
If the Bills emerged victorious ….
The Buffalo team participated in the AFC Championship Game in their home city and enjoyed the advantage of playing on their own field during the playoffs. The Bills would have held the advantage over Kansas City in case of a tie, since they emerged victorious in 10 matches against AFC teams and concluded the season with a record of 14-3. On the other hand, the Chiefs managed to secure nine wins against AFC opponents, but Buffalo possessed the tiebreaker.
In the event that the Bengals emerged victorious ….
There would be no changes in regards to seeding for the playoffs. The Bengals and Bills would be tied at 13-4, as both teams have locked in 9 wins against the AFC. In this case, the tiebreaker would move to the second tie, which would be determined by the four games Buffalo has won against the AFC East. Cincinnati’s three wins against the AFC North would be broken.
When the game between these two teams was canceled, it rightfully cast doubt on the entire playoff seeding process. It was clearly unjust to grant Kansas City home field advantage given the circumstances, which necessitated the consideration of a neutral site option.
The Bills and Chiefs possess the most significant advantages when playing at home in the AFC.
Week 6 witnessed a fierce battle as the Buffalo Bills suffered a heartbreaking 24-20 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, who boasted an impressive 7-1 home record in 2022. Arrowhead Stadium, renowned for its incredible crowd noise, served as the backdrop for this matchup, which held significant importance for both teams on their home field.
Meanwhile, Buffalo is equally fertile ground for the Bills. In 2022, the team went 7-2 at home, despite losing to the Jets in a shocking loss and being at the hands of the surging Vikings in overtime. Both cases were major disadvantages for the Bills, as Highmark Stadium inside noise and the brutal January weather matched only by the wind against which teams can’t handle, gives an advantage particularly against pass-heavy teams. In the NFL, the Bills are one of the scarier teams at the time.
This isn’t finalized yet — and Joe Mixon has absolutely no reason to be upset about this.
If the Bills emerge victorious, the venue for the game will be Buffalo; however, if Kansas City prevails, the AFC Championship will take place in KC. The concept of a neutral site game will only come into play if both the Chiefs and Bills secure victories this weekend. It is crucial to emphasize this point.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon is frustrated that tickets are being sold beforehand for a Bills vs. Chiefs AFC Championship.
“To be honest, it’s disrespectful, but we’re not worried about that sh**,” the running back said on Wednesday. ”We got a game to play on Sunday right? Like I said we are gonna go out there on Sunday and we’re gonna do what the hell we got to do to come back with that W. And then we’re going to see what they’re talking about.”
Presales of this nature occur frequently, in the event that both the Chiefs AND Bills suffer defeat, resulting in Cincinnati hosting Jacksonville, it is worth mentioning that pre-sale tickets are available for a Bengals AFC Championship game as well.
Where will the game take place, and does anyone hold a favorable position?
The NFL and Chiefs, as well as the Bills, are already giddy with the amount of hype they are receiving, and the AFC Championship has the potential to be hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
There doesn’t seem to be any clear advantages for either team. It may feel like the Chiefs have more interest, though it’s unclear which team has a larger national following. You can get as equidistant between Kansas City and Buffalo as you can in Atlanta. There doesn’t seem to be any clear advantages for either team, outside of conspiracy theories about unfair ticket releases.
Can this be a precursor to something more significant?
The NFL’s glee at quickly selling tickets site neutral to watch something is. It’s unclear whether owners would be moving to neutral sites for the NFC and AFC Championship games. It’s probably premature to discuss it, but the league would love to believe it’s the best. The league would love to have two mini Super Bowl-sized games where they can hand-pick the biggest stadiums and the largest markets to host games.
This is something to be concerned about, especially considering how great Atlanta is for sales. How about bragging rights in the NFL? And right now, isn’t there something just to watch?