If the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs reach the AFC Championship game, the game will be played at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the NFL announced Thursday.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what led the game to Atlanta (if both teams advance that far):
- Kansas City finished as the AFC’s top seed with a 14-3 record, with Buffalo No. 2 with a 13-3 record.
- Buffalo had its 16th game canceled after the on-field cardiac event involving Damar Hamlin against the Bengals on Jan. 2.
- With the top two seeds playing an unequal amount of games, the NFL determined that if both advanced to the conference title game, the game would be held at a neutral site to avoid any competitive advantage of playing at home.
- Kansas City, which received a first-round bye, would need to win in the divisional round to advance to the title game.
- Buffalo would have to win two games to advance to the title game.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosted the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2019. It also recently held the College Football Playoff semifinal between Georgia and Ohio State. The stadium was a part of the NFL’s standard contingency planning and was designated as a possible backup host site for postseason games before the start of the season.
Atlanta is close to equal distance between Kansas City and Buffalo.
Detroit and Indianapolis withdrew as possible sites. Ford Field is having repairs to the field, and Lucas Oil Stadium had a scheduling conflict.
“We are heartened by the continued improvement and progress of Damar Hamlin in his recovery, and Damar and his family remain top of mind for the entire NFL community,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement provided by the league. “We are also grateful to Arthur Blank and the Atlanta Falcons for agreeing to host the AFC Championship Game in Atlanta should the Bills and Chiefs advance. We thank both of those clubs for their assistance in the planning process.”
Ticket information will be made available later. Season ticket holders already committed to purchase tickets in their respective cities will have a right of first refusal.
NFL wild-card round
NFC – Seattle at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m. ET
AFC – Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville, 8:15 p.m. ET
AFC – Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. ET
NFC – New York Giants at Minnesota, 4:30 p.m. ET
AFC – Baltimore at Cincinnati, 8:15 p.m. ET
NFC – Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8:15 p.m. ET
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Atlanta Falcons 2022 results
Sept. 11 Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18 Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23
Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20
Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15
Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14
Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17
Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT
Nov. 6 Chargers 20, Falcons 17
Nov. 10 Panthers 25, Falcons 15
Nov. 20 Falcons 27, Bears 24
Nov. 27 Commanders 19, Falcons 13
Dec. 4 Steelers 19, Falcons 16
Dec. 18 Saints 21, Falcons 18
Dec. 24 Ravens 17, Falcons 9
Jan. 1 Falcons 20, Cardinals 19
Jan. 8 Falcons 30, Buccaneers 17
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