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With Bills-Bengals cancelled, seeding scenarios become clearer

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No matter what the NFL decided about the suspended and eventually canceled Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game, some teams would be put in an unfair situation.

“I recognize that there is no perfect solution,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Thursday.

The NFL has made adjustments for the AFC Championship Game, helping to clarify exactly what’s at stake in Week 18.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want their road to the No. 1 seed to open up like this, with a game being called off due to Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffering an on-field heart emergency, but the reality is that they benefit from the BIlls-Bengals being declared a no contest. With a win on Saturday over the Las Vegas Raiders, they said goodbye. That’s a big advantage, even if the AFC championship game might be at a neutral venue.

The Bills were in line for No. 1 if they won, but they will have one game less than the Chiefs. Buffalo can still get the No. 1 seed if they beat the New England Patriots and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders. The Bengals had a chance to take first place, but they don’t have it anymore because they needed to win in Weeks 17 and 18 and cause the Chiefs to lose the Finals. The Baltimore Ravens were also affected. They can no longer win the AFC North. The best they can do is finish half a game behind the Bengals. However, as part of the NFL’s decision on Friday, if the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday and there is a match between the Ravens and Bengals set for the wild card round of the playoffs, a coin toss will determine where the game will be played. .

(Graph from Yahoo Sports by Michael Wagstaffe)

(Graph from Yahoo Sports by Michael Wagstaffe)

It is imperfect and unprecedented that seeds and division titles are decided with teams playing an uneven number of games. However, there was no way to satisfy all teams. Now all clubs know what is at stake in the final.

Here are the Week 18 games that will have the biggest impact on playoff image:

We have a divisional championship game in Week 18. The winner of Saturday night’s game takes the AFC South title. The Jaguars still have a chance to get the wild card if they lose. They would also need losses to the Patriots, Dolphins and Steelers. Titans can’t get a wildcard slot. The Titans stagger in and will start Joshua Dobbs at quarterback. Dobbs was released from the Lions practice squad on December 21 and made his career debut a week later. Saturday night’s winner-take-all game will be Dobbs’ second start.

Even if the Chiefs clinch first place with a win on Saturday, the Bills will still want second place and host a possible divisional round game against the Bengals. They clinch the second seed with a Bengals win or loss. The Patriots clinch a wild card berth with a win. They still have an outside chance on a wild card slot if they lose. New England would then need the Dolphins and Steelers to lose, and the Jaguars to win and clinch the AFC South.

The Dolphins are still alive and need to win. This will be a battle of reserve quarterbacks. The Jets, who were eliminated, are starters Joe Flacco, as Mike White was ruled out with a rib injury. The Dolphins are likely starting rookie Skylar Thompson. Tua Tagovailoa will be out and Teddy Bridgewater is dealing with a finger injury. Miami needs to win and make the Patriots lose to the Bills.

A few weeks ago you would have thought that the team that needed a win in this game would be the Giants. Instead, the Giants are stuck in the No. 6 seed and the Eagles have yet to win to take the NFC East. The Eagles have lost two straight but are the division champions and No. 1 seed with a win over the Giants. If the Eagles lose, the Dallas Cowboys take the NFC East with a victory over the Washington Commanders.

The 49ers can still get the No. 1, 2, or 3 seed. If the Eagles lose and the 49ers win, San Francisco takes the top seed and leaves. If the Eagles win, the 49ers will be the second seed with a Vikings win or loss. The #2 seed will face the #7 seed, which will be either the Packers, Seahawks or Lions.

All Seahawks fans seem angry this week. They are convinced that the NFL wants to catch the Seahawks by making them play at 4:25 pm Eastern and putting the Packers in prime time. The reasoning is that if the Seahawks win, which they need to do to stay alive for a wild card spot, it means the Lions will be eliminated before play starts in Green Bay and Detroit would not be motivated. The NFL is not rigged; just wanted Aaron Rodgers in prime time for good ratings. Still, the Seahawks need to win and hope the Lions lose to make the playoffs.

If the Seahawks lose, this game becomes a winner-take-all for seventh place. If the Seahawks win, the Lions are eliminated. No matter what happens, if the Packers win, they will complete their improbable march to the playoffs and be the seventh seed in the NFC.