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January 05, 2023

How NFL rescheduling could affect the Eagles

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Eagles Girls Flag Football Dave Adamson/

The NFL's end-of-year scheduling could affect how and when the Eagles play in the postseason.

Due to the cardiac arrest that Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered on Monday Night Football, the Week 17 matchup between Buffalo and the Cincinnati Bengals has been postponed. Given that both teams are both top squads in the AFC, that game would've had a significant impact on playoff seeding. 

While there has been no official statement from the NFL on whether the game will be ruled a no contest or played at a later date, reports from ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio suggested that the league is weighing multiple options for how to handle this unprecedented end-of-year scheduling situation. 

Here is an excerpt from Florio's story:

"Bills-Bengals most likely will not be played. The players don’t want to do it. And there’s no good way to fit it into the schedule.

The best bad solution in this regard would be to play the NFC wild-card round and Bills-Bengals next weekend, with the AFC wild-card round being played the next weekend. This would wipe out the week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. There’s no appetite for that approach." [PFT/NBC Sports]

Florio goes on to discuss the possibility of adding an eighth playoff team to the AFC to eliminate the first-round bye, given the way the Bills controlled their own destiny for the No. 1 seed in the conference, but a no contest or tie ruling for their game against Cincinnati would potentially take that away, leaving the Kansas City Chiefs at the top of the AFC.

On the other side of things, an eighth playoff team would need to be added NFC as well to ensure "competitive balance," per Florio. 

That could have an effect on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are in a position to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win on Sunday against the New York Giants. Normally, that would include a bye during the Wild Card round of the postseason, but under a 16-team playoff format, byes would be gone, necessitating the Eagles to win three-straight games in order to make the Super Bowl. 

Of course, the health, safety and future of Hamlin remain paramount.

UPDATE [5:11 p.m.]:

It appears that there will not be additional playoff teams this postseason:

As of this writing, there is no definitive statement from the NFL as to whether this Bengals-Bills game will be played, but a report from the Associated Press indicates that it will not be. 

This is a developing story. Updates to come.

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