The NFL community has been locked in on one all important topic this week: Damar Hamlin’s recovery.
The Buffalo Bills safety is still in the hospital after going into cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football. Here is the latest on Hamlin’s ongoing battle to survive this unprecedented medical emergency.
Of course, since the Bills were playing in such a key game against the Cincinnati Bengals when this occurred, there are some football ramifications to sort through with Hamlin and player safety being the NFL’s first priority. On January 5, ESPN insider Adam Schefter revealed the latest on the postponement and what might happen with the AFC’s top playoff seed on live television.
Schefter: NFL Discussing 2 Scenarios on AFC Homefield Advantage & First-Round Bye
“Number one, I don’t think — an educated guess — that they are going to wind up replaying that Bills-Bengals game from Monday night,” Schefter began on ESPN (shared via The Comeback on Twitter), calling it “bad mojo” to try and resume it.
If the Bills-Bengals matchup does indeed get canceled, there are two potential scenarios that Schefter laid out from the NFL.
“There are many ideas that the league is kicking around,” Schefter relayed, “and they now can go into overdrive knowing that doctors feel encouraged about Damar Hamlin and where he’s at in his recovery a few days after the tragic circumstances of Monday night.”
He continued, explaining each AFC seeding scenario: “One of them comes compliments of [ESPN’s] Matthew Hasselbeck… and I know the league has thought about this one. You call the Bengals-Bills a tie, the number one seed [by win percentage] gets the choice of homefield throughout the playoffs or the bye, the number two seed gets whatever isn’t chosen. So, either a bye or homefield advantage. That would be one scenario that I believe the league has talked about.”
Here was option two from Schefter: “The other one that I think might be even more viable and more discussed — and might be the one that the league enacts before Saturday’s game is this. If there is an AFC championship game in the end that involves teams that don’t have the same amount of games played [if Bills or Bengals are involved] — where Monday night’s non-result factors into who would get homefield advantage — here’s what I think the league would do. I think the league would say, we’re not going to have any homefield advantage this year, we’re going to play the conference championship game on a neutral site.”
Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney confirmed that Schefter noted that the final decision on this matter is expected to come before Week 18 kicks off on Saturday.
Speculation & Rumors on AFC Playoff Picture
Twitter has been a whirlwind of speculation and rumors after this Schefter bomb dropped on Thursday afternoon. Keep in mind that the tweets below are all either opinion or hearsay at this time and none should be taken as fact.
The KC Star’s Jesse Newell gave his advice on choosing between a bye and homefield advantage, voicing: “You definitely take [the] bye if it comes to that. Rests players/moves you 100% to next round, as opposed to 20-25% chance you get knocked off by 7 seed. Worst case in AFCCG: KC/BUF would be about a pick ’em neutral. So [homefield advantage] would move KC win [probability] from 56% at home to about 44% on road… Buffalo would have to get there through two games, though. No guarantee that happens.”
A statement from NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk also put the internet in a frenzy.
PFT tweeted: “Current information we have; Bills-Bengals won’t happen. The NFL is currently figuring out how to configure the AFC playoffs without that game. Could an eighth team be added to eliminate the bye week for the No. 1 seed?”
That led to a comment from Charles Goldman of USA Today’s Chiefs Wire. “Adding an 8th seed would be the most NFL move ever. It certainly isn’t about ‘fairness.’ It sets precedent for future playoff expansion. More games = more money,” he tweeted.
We will continue to update you on the latest regarding the AFC playoff seeding.