First things first, ignore the playoff talk real quick. Hearing Damar Hamlin is improving daily is excellent news. He is in the prayers of everyone here at Stadium Rant.
Now, the NFL has decided to cancel the Bills-Bengals game that was postponed on Monday night according to the Associated Press. The two teams played just under ten minutes of the game before Hamlin went into cardiac arrest following a tackle. 72 hours later, he is moving his hands and feet and communicating via writing with his friends and family, all good news. Now the question is what the AFC playoff picture will look like. It is all speculation right now but here are a few outcomes I think will happen by the time the first playoff weekend arrives.
1.) Chiefs Will Control The Playoff No. 1 Seed
The current NFL playoff format is set to where the team with the highest winning percentage would get the top seed. That team is the Chiefs currently sitting at 13-3 overall (81.25%). The Bills had a chance at the one seed if they won against the Bengals and Patriots. However, the “no contest” to the Bengals now puts the Chiefs in the front spot with the highest win percentage. All the Chiefs need is a win against the Raiders in Week 18 and they lock up another playoff run at home.
The way I see it, the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL right now. Giving them the chance to control their destiny and have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs is huge. I think the Chiefs easily take the one seed and this will be their chance to win another Super Bowl with the path going through KC to begin with.
2.) The Bills Earn The Two Seed, No Further
Is this a huge prediction that the Bills clutch it up and win the two seed? No, but the two seed is all the Bills get this year. KC knows when to step up and lock in a playoff run at home. Buffalo is going to be a problem in the playoffs as well but they will have to go on the road and beat KC to get to the Super Bowl.
What more could you ask for in the AFC title game than a rematch of Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes? Last time we got one of the greatest playoff games in NFL history.The Bills have plenty to prove and they will have to do so as the number two seed in the playoffs this year.
3.) Bengals Will Be The No. 3 Seed
The “no contest” is a win for Cincinnati as it has gifted the AFC North title to the Bengals. Even if the Ravens win on Sunday against the Bengals, that puts them at 11-6, which is still a half-game behind the Bengals, who will finish 11-5 with a loss. With a win over Cincinnati, the Ravens would sweep the Bengals and have the better division record, but still not get the AFC North crown.
How much would Cincinnati care? Not at all folks. However, I think the Bengals will only get the three seed. They have to win this week and the Bills have to lose.
A Baltimore team getting the division title chance stripped away is enough motivation for them to go beat the Bengals. The Bills know they need a win to at least get the two seed, Josh Allen and company want to win it all for Hamlin. Cincy will only get the three seed and have to fight their way on the road should they win in Wild Card weekend.
The scenarios above are of course not entirely what could happen. The NFL is tossing around ideas of a neutral site AFC title game if Week 18 pans out a certain way. There is also talks of tweaking the playoff format to be fair for the Bengals and Bills but mostly to give the Bills their fair shot for the playoff picture.
There is also talks of giving the number one seed the option of either picking home-field advantage or a first-round bye. The number two seed would then get the leftover option. This is all speculation, and nothing is set in stone so buckle up folks, it is going to get interesting.