Coin toss could determine location of Bengals-Ravens playoff game
On Friday, the NFL’s owners will resolve various issues related to the unofficially official cancellation of the Bills-Bengals game.
One wrinkle relates to the AFC North championship. The Ravens beat the Bengals earlier this year. If the Ravens complete the sweep on Sunday, the Bengals would still win the division, based on having a higher overall winning percentage.
But there’s a wrinkle aimed at addressing the reality that the Ravens would have swept the Bengals, and that -- if Cincinnati had lost to the Bills -- the Ravens would have won the division.
The proposal goes like this: “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 schedule 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.”
So, basically, the Ravens can secure home-field in a wild-card game against the Bengals by: (1) winning on Sunday; and (2) winning the coin flip. This would apply even though the winning percentage approach would otherwise make the Bengals the division champions.