The league announced in a press release late Thursday that the game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals has been canceled.
Ever since Monday night’s postponement of the Week 17 matchup at Paycor Stadium, the NFL has been at a standstill, waiting for positive news regarding Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest during the game.
The 24-year-old is still in the hospital but is awake, with a breathing tube helping provide oxygen.
As far as how the rest of the regular season should resume, it’s been a constant guessing game.
According to reports several options had been considered, from pushing back Week 18 to delaying the AFC Wild Card playoffs to get the Bills-Bengals game rescheduled. In some instances, if the matchup didn’t feature heavy playoff implications tying into the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the league may have already had its mind made up, deciding to cancel the game altogether.
How Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals cancellation impacts AFC playoffs
It is still unclear how this unprecedented situation will alter the current AFC playoff race.
As of now, here is how the AFC playoff seedings look.
- Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)
- Buffalo Bills (12-3)
- Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) – Not yet clinched
- Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)
- Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
- New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers all at 8-8
The NFL said Thursday that if the Bills and Bengals meet in the AFC Championship game, it will be played at a neutral site.
But it goes further. If any of the two teams participating in the AFC title game have an unequal amount of games played (i.e. one has played more than the other), the game will head to a neutral site as well, the league said.