FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots and Bills are scheduled to play Sunday in Buffalo — for now.
The Week 18 matchup, which carries significant playoff implications for both teams, has been a topic of interest with Bills safety Damar Hamlin still in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital. Both teams, and the NFL, have behaved this week as if the game will be played as scheduled, but league executive Troy Vincent on Wednesday opened the door for a possible postponement.
Bill Belichick was asked about a possible scheduling change during his Thursday morning news conference.
“All of those questions are out of our control,” New England’s head coach said after delivering a long, thoughtful statement on Hamlin’s situation. “So, not going to worry about any of those. Trying to control what we can control, which is what we’re doing here and how we’re doing it.
“And we’re doing the best we can.”
The Patriots and Bills both practiced Thursday, another strong sign they will play Sunday. Additionally, the latest updates on Hamlin are all positive, with the 24-year-old showing “significant improvement” over the last day.
Still, if Buffalo’s players and coaches feel they need an extra day of preparation, the NFL likely will give it to them. We probably will learn more about where Bills players stand after Thursday’s media availabilities.
Sunday’s kickoff at Highmark Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.