The Kansas City Chiefs continue to steamroll their way toward the AFC’s top overall playoff seed. Patrick Mahomes guided the Chiefs to their ninth straight win and sealed a perfect road record this season. Kansas City’s success in Week 15 may have come at a costly price.
Chiefs move a step closer to securing No.1 seed in the AFC
The Kansas City Chiefs faced a tough challenge in Week 15 in a possible Super Bowl preview against the New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees made his return after a near-month absence due to 11 fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. Brees barreled through despite some notable struggles behind throwing three touchdown passes.
Patrick Mahomes proved to be the difference as he tallied three touchdown passes that proved to be enough to etch out the win. The win cements the Chiefs’ perfect 8-0 road record this season, pushing them a step closer to the first-round playoff bye. All that came at a price after losing a key offensive piece.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined with ankle injury
The Kansas City Chiefs moved a step closer to securing the top overall playoff seed in the AFC.
However, it came at a price as rising star rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an ankle injury. According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, Edwards-Helaire will likely miss the rest of the regular season due to an apparent high-ankle sprain.
The Chiefs hold the firm hope that the LSU product can return for the playoffs, giving him either three or four weeks to recover depending on if the team can secure a first-round bye. Edwards-Helaire has provided a spark plug to the offense as he ranks 15th with 803 rushing yards along with three touchdowns while tallying 36 catches for 297 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The 21-year-old has recorded a pair of 100-rushing yard performances, including 138 rushing yards in the season opener, making him the youngest player to reach that mark in their NFL debut. The question in Kansas City now becomes what the team will do in the backfield without their promising rookie.
Chiefs’ backfield contingency plan
The loss of Clyde Edwards-Helaire for potentially the rest of the season is a significant blow to the Kansas City Chiefs’ backfield.
His absence shifts the focus toward the team’s other options, with Le’Veon Bell serving as the likely choice as the starter. Kansas City acquired Bell earlier this season, intending to use him prominently in their offense, which this situation may be his chance to shine.
The former Pro Bowler put up a solid performance in the Week 15 win over the Saints in relief of Edwards-Helaire. He tallied 62 rushing yards on 15 attempts and a touchdown, and a catch for 14 yards.
The Chiefs won’t solely depend on Bell to carry the load as Darrel Williams will spell him. The 28-year-old’s resume speaks for itself as he has proven to be a high-impact dual-threat option. His first eight games with the team haven’t lived up to the production as he’s played in a supplementary role. Bell has 224 rushing yards on 56 attempts with two touchdowns and 12 receptions for 90 receiving yards.
His performance can bring much-needed balance to the offense alongside Patrick Mahomes. Bell’s workload will likely mirror what Edwards-Helaire received, hovering around 10-15 rush attempts each game. There isn’t a heavy reliance on the running game due to Mahomes’ MVP-caliber production with his arm.
Kansas City also has favorable matchups ahead in the final two weeks of the regular season against the Atlanta Falcons and LA Chargers.