The NFL has reached its official resolution on where they will play a potential neutral venue AFC Championship Game if circumstances dictate that as a necessity in the coming weeks.
Atlanta and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium have been chosen as the setting if the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs were to meet to decide the AFC Super Bowl representative.
If a neutral site AFC Championship Game is played between Buffalo and Kansas City, it now will be held in Atlanta.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2023
This scenario is the NFL’s resolution to the cancellation of the Bills-Bengals Monday Night Football game in Week 17 following the scary medical situation involving Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who was taken off the field in an ambulance and transported to a nearby Cincinnati hospital following an on-field collapse. Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after a routine tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, and medical personnel had to administer CPR and use a defibrillator to revive Hamlin. The most important thing in all of this is that Hamlin survived and was even discharged from the hospital yesterday.
Because the game itself was never made up, the fallout is that the Kansas City Chiefs finished as the No. 1 seed and have earned the AFC’s only bye week, but they will not be given home-field advantage against Buffalo specifically if the two were to meet in the AFC Championship Game since that would put the Bills at a disadvantage due to circumstances out of their control. As a result, the game will be played in Atlanta if that specific clash happens.
If the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round, they would play the Bengals at home if Cincinnati beats the Ravens. A Bengals win would also set the stage for the Chiefs to play host to the winner between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers. If the Ravens beat the Bengals, however, they would be the ones to travel to Kansas City while Buffalo would be the ones to face either the Jags or Chargers.
Of course, if either Buffalo or Kansas City gets eliminated before the title game, then we will revert to the higher seed playing at home and the city of Atlanta’s services will not be needed.
The Chiefs have eliminated the Bills in each of the past two post seasons — in the AFC Championship Game in 2020 and in the AFC Divisional Round in 2021 — but both of these games were played at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bills won the regular season matchup 24-20 at KC this year.