KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs were already confronting a challenging array of hurdles if they were going to validate for a playoffs. On Friday, their highway became even some-more daunting.
The Chiefs announced that quarterback Alex Smith had a tiny break of his spleen and would skip their pivotal diversion opposite a playoff-contending San Diego Chargers. That leaves career backup Chase Daniel to make his second career NFL start during Arrowhead Stadium.
“There’s zero we have to do any different,” Chiefs manager Andy Reid said. “Chase has a good grasp of things. He’s a intelligent guy, studies like crazy in box something like this happens.”
The Chiefs (8-7) were playoff shoo-ins about a month ago, when they were 7-3 and eyeing a Broncos atop a AFC West. A first-round bye seemed a improved gamble than blank a playoffs.
Since then, they’ve won usually once in 5 games. Now, they not usually need to kick San Diego for a second time this season, afterwards wish Houston falls to Jacksonville and Baltimore to Cleveland in a span of games that will come during a accurate same time.
Of course, a Chiefs can usually control one thing: their diversion opposite a Chargers.
“We have to win to even have a shot,” Daniel said.
Matter of fact, so does San Diego.
After gnawing a two-game slip with an overtime win over San Francisco final weekend, San Diego (9-6) knows that a feat opposite a Chiefs in a final week of a unchanging deteriorate will get validate for a playoffs for a second true year.
“That’s what everybody works for all year long, to have an event to advance,” Chargers manager Mike McCoy said. “It’s a large multiplication game. We’re unequivocally informed with any other.”
The Chargers kick a Chiefs in overtime in final year’s regular-season culmination to cheep into a playoffs. And if that wasn’t fluke enough, a Chiefs had already sealed adult their playoff seed that day, so they complacent their starters and Daniel got a curtsy during quarterback.
He’ll have a bit some-more on a line this time around.
“We have a pointy diversion devise this week,” Daniel pronounced after his usually use with a first-team offense, “and it was good to get out here Friday and go over a whole diversion plan.”
All of a similarities to final deteriorate strike home for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who threw for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns in that diversion final December. But he also forked out that it’s a new year, and a Chiefs have a whole lot some-more roving on this one.
“The situation’s opposite for them,” Rivers said, “but we had to kick them to get in and here we are again, we have to kick Kansas City to get in. It’s a group we know well, they know us well.”
The playoff fates of both teams will be a accepted story line Sunday, though there are a handful of intriguing subplots. Here are some other things to remember:
MORE ON SMITH: Smith believes his spleen was harm in a third entertain of final week’s detriment in Pittsburgh. At first, he suspicion he was traffic with indigestion. Smith will not need medicine though could be out 6 weeks, that means Kansas City substantially needs to strech a Super Bowl for him to lapse this season. “It’s apparently a unequivocally bizarre thing to be traffic with,” he said.
GATES IN THE END ZONE: Chargers parsimonious finish Antonio Gates needs one touchdown accepting to turn a ninth actor in NFL story with 100. He has 93 catches for 1,167 yards and 15 scores in 19 career games opposite Kansas City, a many TDs he’s scored opposite any opponent.
HOUSTON’S PURSUIT: Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston has a league-leading 18 sacks, dual bashful of a single-season authorization record set by Derrick Thomas in 1990. He brought down Rivers once when a teams met in October. “You have to comment for him,” Chargers manager Mike McCoy said.
B-FLO IS BACK: Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was cut in a cost-saving pierce final offseason, will lapse to Arrowhead Stadium for a initial time. Flowers spent a initial 6 years of his career with a Chiefs, going to a Pro Bowl final year. “I desired each second of Kansas City. That’s where we suspicion we was going to spend a rest of my career,” he said. “I’m in San Diego now and we adore each second of being over here.”
RIVERS RUNS THROUGH IT: Rivers needs 3 touchdown passes to compare his career high set in 2008. He also needs 5 yards flitting for his sixth career 4,000-yard season. “He’s unequivocally good,” Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. “Gets a round out of his hands unequivocally well.”
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