The NFL is still trying to figure out how to proceed after Damar Hamlin’s on-field cardiac arrest resulted in the postponement of Monday night’s Bills-Bengals game, a matchup between two AFC heavyweights that carries heavy playoff implications.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said on a conference call Wednesday that the game would not be played this week, but otherwise, “everything is being considered.” That includes resuming the game next week following the completion of the regular season this weekend and delaying the start of the playoffs, eliminating the pre-Super Bowl idle week to give extra time to fit in this game, or eliminating the game altogether as a no contest.
ProFootballTalk discussed a concept of expanding the AFC and NFC playoff fields from seven to eight teams to mitigate the challenge of determining a top seed in the AFC should Bills–Bengals not be played. Adding an eighth playoff team in each conference isn’t something that has been discussed, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said during a conference call Thursday, but doing so would require additional bargaining to ensure those eighth team players and the teams that would have received a bye by being the No. 1 seed were receiving additional compensation.
If the NFL were to expand the playoffs for this season, three teams currently out of playoff contention (the Jets in the AFC, the Commanders and Saints in the NFC) would once again have a shot at the postseason.