There will be no perfect solution to the challenge presented by the suspension of the Bills-Bengals game on Monday night. As explained last night, the NFL will have to simply choose the best bad solution.
There could be a way to make the best bad solution a little better.
As Chris Simms and I talked through the various approaches to concluding the 2022 regular season, we strongly agreed that Bills-Bengals should not be finished. It should be declared a “no contest,” and playoff seeding should be determined based on winning percentage.
There are two problems with this approach. First, it delivers the AFC North title to the Bengals, even if they lose to the Ravens on Sunday, for the second time this season. Second, it hands the top seed in the AFC to the Chiefs, if Kansas City beats the Raiders in a Week 18 game currently scheduled for Saturday.
That seems extremely unfair to the Bills, who needed to win their final two games to become the top seed in the AFC — and to force the Chiefs to come to Buffalo in the playoffs. But it’s also unfair to expect the Chiefs to just give up the top seed and the bye week that goes along with it.
So here’s a compromise. The Chiefs get the bye, but if the Bills and the Chiefs qualify for the AFC Championship, the game is played at a neutral site.
The Chiefs would have to offer it, and the league would have to approve it. The approach would minimize the sort-of asterisk that would attach to Kansas City getting the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium for the third straight year in the postseason, if the Chiefs win.
Possible neutral sides include Detroit, Minnesota, and Indianapolis, if the goal is to avoid the elements. Places like Green Bay, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh become an option, if the teams and the league want weather to be a potential factor.
Before picking a location, the league would have to be willing to do it. The Chiefs would have to be willing to accept it.
Again, there is no perfect solution. The league surely is trying to find the best and most fair (or at least unfair) approach, given the circumstances.
If Bills-Bengals is canceled, should Bills-Chiefs AFC title game happen at a neutral site? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk