Justin Houston, Jeremy Maclin Out Sunday

Although the Chiefs activated linebacker Justin Houston from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, he won’t play Sunday in Carolina, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com was among those to report (Twitter links). Houston has been recovering from an ACL injury that has kept him out all season, but he didn’t suffer a setback this week, per Teicher. Instead, the Chiefs want to give the pass-rushing force another week to work his way back.

Justin Houston (vertical)

Kansas City has impressively gone 6-2 without Houston, who has racked up 56 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 70 career games. Its defense could use a reinforcement, though, as it currently hovers around league average in DVOA (11th), yardage allowed (16th), quarterback hurries (20th) and sacks (21st). Four of the Chiefs’ final eight games are against AFC West foes, including a pair of matchups with the 6-3 Broncos, so Houston’s eventual return could make a significant impact in what should be a tightly contested division race.

In addition to Houston, the Chiefs won’t have No. 1 receiver Jeremy Maclin in Carolina, head coach Andy Reid said Friday (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Maclin left in the first quarter of the Chiefs’ game against the Jaguars last Sunday with a groin injury, but the team managed to pull off a 19-14 win without him and quarterback Alex Smith. The latter will be back in Kansas City’s lineup this week, but he’ll have to make do without the club’s top wideout. Among Chiefs, Maclin trails only tight end Travis Kelce in catches (30) and receiving yards (376). Maclin leads the team in targets (56) and has scored a pair of touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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