If the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs both advance to the AFC Championship Game, the matchup will be played in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The stadium is home of the Atlanta Falcons, who are not in the playoffs.
The discussion of a neutral site began after the league canceled the Week 17 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field during the game, causing the game to be paused, suspended and eventually canceled.
With such a scary and serious scene taking place during the game, it was crucial the teams focus on the health of Hamlin and processing the situation they witnessed, rather than continue the game. The game was between two major players in the AFC, meaning it would impact the seeding, so an alternative rule was put in place for the playoffs. The league decided win percentage would determine seeding for the AFC.
The Chiefs earned the No. 1 seed with a Week 18 win and the Bills took the No. 2 seed with a win of their own in the regular-season finale. The league noted that if the Bills also made the conference championship, to keep things fair, the game would be held at a neutral site.
This of course, will only go into play if both teams advance to the conference championship. If the Chiefs advance and the Bills do not, the game will be held at Arrowhead Stadium. If the Bills advance and the Chiefs do not, the game will be held at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. If neither team advances, the game will be held in the location of the highest-seeded team.
The Chiefs have the wild card round bye, so are automatically placed into the divisional round. The Bills are set to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in the first round in an AFC East showdown.