The Chiefs possess a clearer path to the AFC’s No. 2 seed with Derek Carr no longer in the equation for the Raiders, but they look set to have to complete the first leg of that journey without their best defender.
Given a questionable designation by the Chiefs after not practicing this week, Houston has played in the past five games since being activated in advance of Week 11. Kansas City’s cornerstone defender has registered four sacks since returning from knee surgery this offseason, with three of those coming against the Broncos in the teams’ first 2016 meeting. The pass-rushing onus against a vulnerable Broncos offensive line stands to fall on Dee Ford and Tamba Hali, who got in one limited practice this week.
Before missing the first nine Chiefs games this season, Houston missed the final five games of the Chiefs’ 2015 campaign and was ineffective while attempting to play through an injury in the team’s two playoff contests. This obviously bears monitoring as the playoffs near considering the outside linebacker’s impact and recent history with knee problems.
The Broncos are set to be without defenders T.J. Ward and Brandon Marshall, with the Chiefs already missing two starting defensive linemen and Derrick Johnson, so neither team will be as healthy as it was in the rivals’ Week 12 overtime showcase.
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