Positive news came in from doctors regarding the health of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who continues to improve despite remaining in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
While the NFL’s focus remains on Hamlin’s health, the league is expected to move forward with its Week 18 slate of games. Even the Bills went into practice Thursday with the mindset that they’ll play the New York City on Sunday. England Patriots.
However, the league must decide what it wants to do with Monday night’s postponed Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game. During the game, Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after hitting wide receiver Tee Higgins.
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“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 Adam Schefter, an ESPN NFL Insider, believes that’s what will happen.
“As someone told me last week, the game is bad; it’s time to put it behind us,” Schefter said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Go forward, don’t go back.”
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To move forward without resuming play, which the Bengals were leading 7-3 at the time, the NFL must figure out how that ties into playoff qualifying. Schefter gave a scenario suggested by his co-worker, former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
“He said you call the Bengals-Bills a tie,” Schefter said. “The No. 1 seed has the option to play at home during the playoffs or bye. The No. 2 seed gets whatever is not chosen.”
Schefter added that he believes the league thought about having the No. 1 seed choose between playing at home or receiving a first-round bye.
He also believes that a neutral site for the AFC championship game could be on the cards.
“If there’s an AFC championship game, in the end, involving teams that don’t have the same number of games played, where the lack of Monday night results factors into who gets home field advantage, this It’s what I think the league will do,” Schefter explained. “I think the league would say, ‘We’re not going to have any home field advantage this year. We’re going to play conference play at a neutral site.’
The current No. 1 seed in the AFC is the 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs, but a win by the Bills on Monday night would have kept them in the top spot because they have a head-to-head tiebreaker.
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The Bengals were also looking to maintain their spot atop the AFC North, which will be decided between them and the Baltimore Ravens, their Week 18 opponent.
There are only a few days left before Week 18 begins, and teams continue to prepare as if they were dressing up on Sunday.
While everyone awaits the league’s decision, there was some relief when doctors at UC Medical Center reported that Hamlin had improved tremendously in the past 24 hours. He was contacting doctors in writing because he was still wearing a breathing tube, and actually asked who won the game on Monday night. Hamlin was also able to grab the hands of family members.
NFLPA chief medical officer Dr. Thom Mayer said Hamlin is expected to make a “full neurological recovery.”
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“When he asked ‘Did we win?’ the answer is: ‘Yes, Damar, you won the game of life,'” said Dr. Timothy Pritts.