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If you had not heard by now, the Kansas City Chiefs lost more than just their game with the Chicago Bears this past Sunday, they may have lost their superstar running back, Jamaal Charles, for the season.
Charles was the one rock that Chiefs' fans could hope to keep the team on a path that may end with a resurgent season and a playoff appearance after a collapse last year. Unfortunately for them, Charles suffered a serious enough injury to remove him from the game Sunday, and pending further examinations, appears to be a torn ACL injury that has sidelined him for the rest of the season.
While the Chiefs do have Kniles Davis, they have already sought help in free agency from former Steelers' running back, Ben Tate, and are scheduled to give him a workout soon. Tate was the Steelers' quick free agent signing after Le'Veon Bell was injured in week 17 of the 2015 NFL season. He replaced Bell in the Steelers' wild card loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
This creates a serious turn for a Chiefs team that was already desparate to get back on track after starting 1-0, and now losing four straight games. It also changes the dynamic of how each team might prepare for the Chiefs, especially the Steelers who are set to play them in two weeks.
Kansas City was already behind on the AFC West chase that has the Denver Broncos out ahead at 5-0 with the 2-2 San Diego Chargers and the 2-3 Oakland Raiders lingering behind. The Broncos have been led by their defense so far this season, but that unit also took a hit when DeMarcus Ware left their game this weekend. Though his back injury does not appear to be as serious as Charles' ACL, the Broncos cannot afford for their defense to lose any force while their offense struggles to find their old rhythm. The Broncos also might have to do without their 2015 leading rusher in Ronnie Hillman who is questionable next week with a hamstring injury.
The Steelers also have to face the Broncos, but not for several more weeks when the Steelers expect to have Roethlisberger back. The narrative of the Broncos will be one to watch as the season moves forward and the Steelers try to make their push for the 2015-2016 postseason.
As of Sunday, the AFC playoff race only had two teams over .500 that aren't divisional leaders in the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. That number increased to three after the 2-3 San Diego Chargers lost to the 3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are missing Ryan Shazier and Martavis Bryant with this week's injury report while they already await the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey.
In the NFC, the New York Giants pulled out a tough late victory against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night, but their receiving corps seems to have a dark injury cloud hovering above it, raining bad news every week. Victor Cruz has yet to play a down this season after his season ending injury from 2014, but added to that, both Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle were pulled from their game due to injuries. Both players suffered hamstring injuries, but Beckham Jr. suffered his while celebrating during the game. Randle's outlook on his injury is positive, but more word on Beckham Jr. is still due, as the 3-2 New York Giants prepare to face the 2-3 Philadelphia Eagles in an early pivotal divisional matchup.