Bills Prep For Patriots Game, As Hamlin Shows Encouraging Signs
With the Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin in a Cincinnati hospital in critical condition, it has been impossible to separate the emotion from the day-to-day when it comes to football.
The 24-year-old defensive back went into cardiac arrest on the football field in last Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was canceled.
On Thursday, some positive news emerged. While Hamlin was not out of the woods, doctors were more confident in his recovery, including his neurological condition and function. By Friday, Hamlin was speaking with teammates via FaceTime, according to reports.
During this emotional period, the team was preparing for the final game of the season this Sunday against the visiting New England Patriots. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.
Bills Playing at Hamlin’s Request
Bills quarterback Josh Allen said Hamlin’s father conveyed a message that the player wants his teammates to “go out there and charge forward … to the best of our abilities."
“To know that that’s what he wants, that’s what his dad wants, I think that guys are excited to get out there,” Allen said. "It’s going to be surreal, being at home, last game of the season. There are some things we still need to talk about as a team, and get through, and we just have to keep moving forward.”
Allen added that the team wants to “play for three,” a reference to Hamlin’s jersey number, No. 3.
“That’s going to be a huge driving force of emotion and the love of the game that we play with and for each other,” Allen said.
Now that the league has canceled the Bengals-Bills game (it’s ruled a no contest, meaning the records for these two AFC teams were not affected), the NFL on Thursday released the scenario for how the rest of the regular season will play out.
After the playoffs, the AFC and NFC winners will advance to the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Playoff Scenarios Set
With the regular season concluding this weekend, a potential neutral-site AFC playoff game could come into play.
This would happen if the participating teams played an unequal number of regular season games and both could have been the No. 1 seed. Those circumstances involve Buffalo or Cincinnati qualifying for the game as a road team. Below are the three scenarios:
If Buffalo and Kansas City both win or tie this weekend, a Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties, a Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins, a Buffalo or Cincinnati vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati in Week 18, the Ravens 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 each other, 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 each other in the Wild Card round, the game sites would be determined by the regular scheduling procedures.
Josh Allen Injury Update
On the injury front, Allen has been working through ankle and elbow issues.
After the Bills’ star quarterback injured his throwing elbow in Week 9 against the New York Jets, some of his throws have come up short, lacking their normal zip.
Also, Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson rolled into Allen’s leg during the Monday night game. It remains to be seen if Allen's mobility will be affected by the injury.
Buffalo Favored on Sunday
Heading into the weekend, BetRivers Sportsbook has the Bills as a -7-point favorite against the Patriots.
At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bills are a -7.5-point favorite. The Over is a combined 43.5 points.
The weather forecast for Buffalo on Sunday is partly cloudy, with a high of 35 degrees and a low of 26. There is a 10% per cent chance of precipitation, with southwest winds at 5 mph.
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