Chiefs rest stars as Chargers eye playoffs

Updated: December 29, 2013, 4:17 PM ET

Adam Teicher |

SAN DIEGO — The Kansas City Chiefs will sit several of their starters for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, who can clinch a playoff berth after losses earlier Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins.

If the Chargers lose, the Pittsburgh Steelers would get the AFC’s No. 6 seed after they beat the Cleveland Browns 20-7 earlier Sunday. The Ravens fell to the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-17, while the Dolphins lost at home 20-7 to the New York Jets.

The result of Sunday’s game cannot affect the Chiefs’ playoff standing. They have clinched a wild-card playoff spot but no longer can win the AFC West championship and are locked into the fifth seed for the AFC playoffs.

Among their seven inactive players are quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, offensive tackle Branden Albert, nose tackle Dontari Poe and linebacker Derrick Johnson as well as two injured players, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and linebacker Tamba Hali.

Charles, Albert, Poe and Hali were named to the Pro Bowl on Friday. Smith is their starting quarterback, Bowe their leading wide receiver and Johnson one of their key defensive players.

In addition, the Chiefs are expected to start backups at all 11 defensive positions and at nine spots on offense. The only regulars expected to start are right offensive tackle Eric Fisher and fullback Anthony Sherman.

Chase Daniel will make the first start of his NFL career at quarterback. 

  • Covered Chiefs for the past 20 seasons for Kansas City Star
  • Joined ESPN in 2013

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