Report: NFL may add 8th seed to the postseason in the wake of Bills vs. Bengals postponement
According to ProFootballTalk, the NFL is pondering multiple options with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals game in hiatus.
At the moment, the Bills-Bengals game does not have a resume date. Per PFT, the game likely won’t be finished at all. The players don’t want to do it and there isn’t a seamless way to fit it into the schedule.
One of the more popular ideas floating around NFL circles, per PFT, is playing the NFC wildcard round along with the Bills-Bengals game next weekend. The AFC wildcard round would then be held the following weekend and the week between the conference title games and the Super Bowl would be wiped out. But, it doesn’t appear the NFL wants to take this approach.
Adding an 8th seed to the NFL playoffs
Another possibility that’s been discussed – which would really shake up the NFL playoff picture – is adding an eighth seed to each conference. In turn, this would eliminate the first-round bye for the number one seeds.
The Bills-Bengals game had huge implications for the top of the AFC playoff picture. Both teams had an opportunity to put themselves in position for a first-round bye with a win. Adding an eighth seed levels the playing field a bit. As PFT points out, determining the seeding via winning percentage seems like the most obvious route to take, but there are concerns about equity, given the playoff implications tied to the Bills-Bengals contest.
The NFL has also discussed playing the AFC Championship at a neutral site. But, if the another team outside of the Bills, Bengals, or Chiefs qualify for that contest, there wouldn’t be any need for a neutral site.
The NFL Players Association will have to agree to either of these routes if they’re formally proposed by the league.
While the outcome of the Bills-Bengals game is the last thing any of us want to discuss, the NFL needs to figure out how to proceed with the playoff seeding without the game being finished.
Adding an eighth seed would be the most drastic route. It would shift how every team is going to approach this final week of the season. But, it looks like anything is on the table at the moment.
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