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Neutral-Site AFC Championship Game to Be Played in Atlanta, if Necessary



Steelers Falcons Mercedes-Benz Stadium AFC Championship Game

Acrisure Stadium will not host a neutral-site AFC Championship game, as the NFL has decided on Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta if the game becomes necessary between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, the league announced on Thursday.

Steelers Now confirmed last week that Acrisure Stadium was not in the running. The league had not yet announced where it may be held at that time.

The game could be held at a neutral site because, after the cancellation of the Week 17 game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, those two teams ended up playing one fewer game than the rest of the AFC.

The Chiefs won the No. 1 seed and got a first-round bye, but if they are scheduled to host the No. 2-seed Bills, who they beat for the top spot by just half a game, that game will be held at a neutral site instead. 

Buffalo beat Kansas City, 24-20 in Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 16, in a rematch of the 2021 AFC Championship Game, which the Chiefs won, 42-36.

The game between the Bills and Bengals was called off in the aftermath of Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field in Cincinnati on Jan. 2. 

With there being only week remaining in the season at that point, commissioner Roger Goodell decided there was not enough time to make the game up, and implemented a contingency plan that included the possibility of a neutral-site AFC Championship Game.

Pittsburgh, one of a half-dozen NFL cities located between Buffalo and Kansas City, was suggested as a possible location, but was not ultimately in the running for the event.

The Bills host the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at 1 p.m. If Buffalo wins, the Bills will host the highest-seeded winner of the other two Wild Card games in the AFC Divisional Round next weekend. Kansas City will host the lowest-seeded winner.