When they try to get back the No. 1 seed in the AFC on Saturday, the Chiefs will be without their lead running back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out for Week 18 against the Broncos, per ESPSN’s Adam Teicher (via Twitter).
Edwards-Helaire did not practice at all this week, meaning he will miss a second straight game. The shoulder injury he picked up in Week 16’s win over the Steelers kept him out for this past Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. The regular season finale will be the seventh game missed this year for the 2021 first round pick. In the 10 games he has appeared in, he’s totaled 517 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 119 carries (4.3 yards per attempt), along with 19 catches for 129 yards and another two scores.
The news means that Darrel Williams will once again be the starter for the Chiefs. In his fourth season in Kansas City – by far his most productive – Williams has recorded 541 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, as well as 422 yards and another two majors in the passing game. Having been activated from IR last week, veteran Jerick McKinnon will likely serve as the backup again.
In other injury news, starting right tackle Lucas Niang was placed on IR on Friday, which is another big blow to the Chiefs’ offense. On the other hand, Teicher reports that Head Coach Andy Reid believes starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. has a “good chance” to play on Saturday after being sidelined last week.
The only way the Chiefs can regain the top spot – and corresponding bye week for the first round of the playoffs – in the AFC is by winning against the Broncos and having the Texans upset the Titans. If both of those things don’t happen, there is a chance they fall all the way to the fourth seed, although a win over Denver alone guarantees them second spot.