Following the scary incident during Monday’s Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills game, there could be some notable changes to the playoff structure in the AFC, and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is not happy about it.
Monday saw one of the scariest moments in NFL history when Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin collapsed following a severe hit to the chest during a tackle. The 24-year-old went into cardiac arrest and had to be revived on the field. The incident led to a postponement of the game and a hole in the Bengals and Bills’ schedule.
On Thursday, the game was officially canceled and will leave both teams short a game on the 2023-2023 NFL schedule, which also throws the AFC North title situation into a bit of limbo.
Also on Thursday, various reports revealed what the NFL expects to propose to all 32 teams Friday as a way to address the issues in the AFC playoff bracket, and Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is not thrilled with the options for his team.
Zac Taylor sees a lot of ‘negatives’ for Cincinnati Bengals in potential playoff changes
While there are various scenarios in play for how things could work out in regards to the top seed — which the Chiefs and Bills still have a chance at — the Bengals are in a difficult position. With a possible win against Buffalo wiped off the schedule, the Bengals are now locked into the third seed. However, the division is still up for grabs because of the fallout from the canceled game.
If the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday they would be a half-game out of first place with no further games on the schedule. In theory, if the Bengals had lost to the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore would have won the division because they would have the tiebreaker over the Bengals. However, we will never know how that game would have gone.
The NFL is reportedly proposing a coin flip for home-field advantage in the Wild Card round if the Ravens beat the Bengals Sunday, and then have to play them in the opening round of the postseason. Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is not a fan of the plan and told the Cincinnati Enquirer as much on Friday.
“It’s opportunities lost for us. We had control and now we don’t. There are positives for a lot of teams and negatives for us … Let us play seven home games and nine road games and then try to take a home playoff game away … that’s what this team is built for.”– Zac Taylor on playoff changes (h/t Pro Football Talk)
It certainly is unfair to let a coin flip decide the fate of home-field in a playoff matchup after being in first place for much of the season. However, if the Cincinnati Bengals can beat a Ravens team likely without superstar Lamar Jackson this weekend, then they will have nothing to worry about.