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Potential Bengals vs. Ravens Wild Card Game Location Could Be Determined by Coin Flip

Erin WalshJanuary 6, 2023

Football: Cincinnati Bengals Ja'Marr Chase (1) in action, runs with the football vs. Baltimore Ravens at MT Bank Stadium.
Cincinnati, OH 10/9/2022
CREDIT: Simon Bruty (Photo by Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: x164188)
Set Number: x164188

If the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens, AFC North rivals, are scheduled to play against one another in the AFC Wild Card Round, the potential location of that game could be determined by a coin flip, the NFL announced Thursday.

The league's proposal reads:

"If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati in Week 18 it will have defeated Cincinnati, a divisional opponent, twice but will not be able to host a playoff game because Cincinnati will have a higher winning percentage for a 16-game schedule than Baltimore will for a 17-game schedule. If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati and if those two clubs are [scheduled] to play a Wild Card game against one another, the site for that game would be determined by a coin toss. If Cincinnati wins the Week 18 game or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play one another in the Wild Card round, the game sites would be determined by the regular scheduling procedures."

Additionally, the Bengals will reportedly be declared AFC North champions regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The Bengals will be recognized as the AFC North champions regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game, per league source.<br><br>A coin flip could end up deciding home field in a playoff rematch with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ravens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ravens</a>. But Cincinnati has the higher winning percentage and has won the title.

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

Also, if the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ravens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ravens</a> win on Sunday and jump up to the No. 5 seed in the AFC, there won't be a coin flip if they face the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bengals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bengals</a> in the Divisional or Conference round. Cincinnati would host that game. Coin flip only applies to the Wild Card round if they're the 3-6 seed matchup.

The Ravens beat the Bengals 19-17 on Oct. 9 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. If the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday at Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati would still win the division based on having a higher winning percentage.

Baltimore is currently second in the AFC North with a 10-6 record, while Cincinnati is first with an 11-4 record.

The NFL needs to consider changes for the playoffs after ruling that Monday's game between Cincinnati and Buffalo would not be resumed after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during the first quarter, resulting in the suspension of the contest.

Hamlin was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he remains in the intensive care unit.

Two UC Health physicians said during a Zoom call with the media Thursday that Hamlin is "awake and responsive with the ability to move both his hands and feet, while also being able to communicate with his doctors, nurses and family members via writing on a clipboard," per Alec White of the team's website.

In addition to the scenario with the Bengals and Ravens, the NFL announced the possibility of the AFC Championship Game being played at a neutral site if the participating teams played an unequal number of games and both could have been the No. 1 seed had a full schedule been played.

NFL @NFL

Week 17 Buffalo-Cincinnati game will not be resumed. Clubs to consider neutral site AFC Championship game.<br><br>Full statement: <a href="https://t.co/NwqUwxlbzo">pic.twitter.com/NwqUwxlbzo</a>

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

What's at stake this weekend:<br><br>If the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chiefs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chiefs</a> lose and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a> win, Buffalo is the 1 seed. AFCCG in BUF.<br><br>If the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chiefs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chiefs</a> win and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a> lose, Kansas City is the 1 seed. AFCCG in KC.<br><br>If the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chiefs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chiefs</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a> both win and meet in AFFCG, it'd be at a neutral site. <a href="https://t.co/447AxVtEhu">https://t.co/447AxVtEhu</a>

Week 18 of the season is set to be played as scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. The final playoff picture will be determined following Sunday Night Football between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.