February 1, 2023

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NFL considering playoff seeding without Bills-Bengals playing

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The NFL continues to discuss and trade the incomplete Bills-Bengals game from Week 17.

Nothing official yet. This is what we know now.

Bills-Bengals most likely won’t be playing. Players don’t want to do that. There is no good way to fit it into the schedule.

The best bad solution in this regard is to play the NFC wild card round and Bills-Bengals next weekend, with the AFC wild card round to be played next weekend. This would erase the week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. There is no appetite for this approach.

The question then becomes seeding the AFC playoffs without the Bills Bengals. Winning percentage becomes the most obvious way. But there are fairness concerns, given that the winner of the Bills-Bengals match-up was in a position to be one of the AFC’s top seeds.

One possibility is to add an eighth team to the AFC playoffs arena. This would eliminate the first seed’s farewell.

To ensure competitive balance, there should be eight teams in the NFC as well.

The NFL Players Association must approve a temporary expansion of the playoffs stadium.

Discussions also continue about the possibility of making the AFC Championship a neutral game. The problem with this approach is that if, say, a team other than the Bills, Chiefs, or Bengals qualifies for the game, there is no need to use a neutral site.

Whatever the case, a decision needs to be made soon — especially if the playoff field is going to grow unexpectedly, in both conferences. It changes the dynamics of teams vying for playoff spots.

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