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Adam Schefter breaks down how NFL could move on with Bills-Bengals not resumed

Positive news came from doctors regarding the health of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who continues to improve despite remaining in the intensive care unit at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. 

While the NFL’s focus remains on Hamlin’s health, the league is expected to move on with its Week 18 slate of games. Even the Bills were at practice Thursday with the mindset they will be playing the New England Patriots Sunday. 

However, the league must figure out what it wants to do with the postponed Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game from Monday night. During the game, Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after his hit on wide receiver Tee Higgins. 

“No decisions have been made,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Fox News Digital about how the league will move forward with the Bills-Bengals game. “We continue to explore all options.”

One of those options is to not resume the game. And ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter believes that’s what will happen.

“As somebody said to me this past week, the game is bad mojo; it’s time to leave it behind,” Schefter said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Move forward, not back.”


To move forward without resuming the game, which the Bengals were leading 7-3 at the time, the NFL must figure out how that plays into playoff seeding. Schefter gave a scenario that his coworker, former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, suggested. 

“He said you call the Bengals-Bills a tie,” Schefter noted. “The No. 1 seed gets the choice of home field throughout the playoffs or the bye. The No. 2 seed gets whatever isn’t chosen.”

Schefter added that he believes the league did think about having the No. 1 seed choose between home field or receiving a bye in the first round. 

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) runs near Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) during the first half of a game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. Hamlin was injured on the play. 

He also believes a neutral site for the AFC championship game might be in the cards. 

“If there is an AFC championship game, in the end, that involves teams that don’t have the same amount of games played, where Monday night’s non-result factors into who gets home-field advantage, here’s what I think the league will do,” Schefter explained. “I think the league would say, ‘We’re not gonna have any home-field advantage this year. We’re gonna play the conference game on a neutral site.”

The current No. 1 seed in the AFC is the Kansas City Chiefs at 13-3, but a win by the Bills Monday night would have kept them in the top spot because they own a head-to-head tiebreaker. 


Cincinnati Bengals long snapper Clark Harris stands on the NFL logo during warmups for the Super Bowl between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

The Bengals were also looking to keep their spot at the top of the AFC North, which will be decided between them and the Baltimore Ravens, their Week 18 opponent. 

Only a few days remain before Week 18 kicks off, and teams continue to prepare as if they will be suiting up Sunday. 

While everyone awaits the league’s decision, there was some relief when UC Medical Center doctors reported Hamlin made tremendous improvement over the last 24 hours. He was communicating with doctors through writing due to a breathing tube still being used, and he actually asked who won the game Monday night. Hamlin was also able to grip the hands of family members. 

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) warms up prior to a game against the Cincinnati Bengals Jan. 2, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

NFLPA Medical Director Dr. Thom Mayer said Hamlin is expected to make a “full neurologic recovery.”

“When he asked ‘Did we win?’ the answer is, ‘Yes, Damar, you won the game of life,’” Dr. Timothy Pritts said. 

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