Bengals – Bills reportedly declared no-contest; Cincinnati wins the AFC North over the Baltimore Ravens

We now have a decision from the NFL for the Week 17 matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, which was suspended in the first quarter after safety Damar Hamlin had a medical emergency.

According to AP reporter Rob Maaddi, the league has decided the game will not be made up and is now declared a no-contest. Pending an official announcement from the NFL, this means both teams will effectively play a 16-game NFL season, while the rest of the league will play 17 games.

More importantly, this means the 11-4 Bengals have won the AFC North over the 10-6 Baltimore Ravens and will host at least one game in the NFL Playoffs. The reason being is no matter what happens this week, the Bengals will finish with a higher win percentage, and the Ravens can’t win more than 11 regular-season games now.

It also means the Bengals cannot win the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed, but they can still get the 2 seed if they win this week and the 12-3 Bills lose at home to the New England Patriots.

It’s worth noting the Pats must win to make the playoffs, whereas the Ravens are locked into a Wild Card spot now and may rest a good chunk of their starters this week.

While this is all but official, questions remain as to how the playoffs will unfold. There’s a report that the league could consider having the AFC Championship Game played on a neutral field if either the Bills or Bengals make it that far.

All things considered, this was likely the best outcome anyone could hope for in light of Monday’s near-tragic situation. The most important thing is Damar Hamlin has made significant improvements in his recovery since then. Here’s to hoping that continues to move in a positive direction!

We will have more on this story shortly once this becomes official.

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