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NFL Playoffs: Alex Smith out vs. Chargers makes Chiefs postseason longshots

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The Chiefs were on the verge of clinching a berth in the NFL playoffs, but that's hard to do without your quarterback.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs will meet at Arrowhead stadium on Sunday for a game with huge playoff implications. It has just been announced by Kansas City that quarterback Alex Smith will not be playing, due to a lacerated spleen suffered against the Steelers last week.

If the Chargers win, it will be the second time they will have secured a playoff berth by beating Chase Daniel, the Chief's second-string quarterback. They defeated the Chiefs 27-24 last season; however, Daniel did manage 200 yards and a touchdown on 70 percent passing. Ironically, that game also came in the regular season's finale.

On his injury, per NFL.com, Smith stated:

"It certainly wasn't something that prohibited me athletically, I didn't feel like it was muscular, just discomfort," Smith said Friday. "Nausea coming and going, I knew a bug was going around, I thought maybe it was that. I practiced both days, I felt great athletically running around and throwing. I had this constant deal going on and then doc urged me to go get the test. I was pretty reluctant yesterday. I said I was alright and they pushed me to get checked out and I got the call that I had the laceration on there and it was enlarged."

Based on this news, we can expect that Jamaal Charles' load will increase even further this Sunday, which may not be an issue for the Chiefs offense. San Diego's poor running defense is allowing over 100 yards a game on average in the second half of the season, with opponents reaching the century mark in the ground game in eight of the last 10 contests.

For Cincinnati, this impacts the Bengal's potential playoff opponent. Should they reach the postseason as the No. 3 seed (by beating the Steelers), and if San Diego does win against the Chiefs, we would see a rematch of last year's playoff game, once again, in Cincinnati.

If the Bengals win and the Chiefs find a way to win with their backup signal-caller, Kansas City would need both the Ravens and Texans to lose to guarantee the No. 6 seed, which would have them traveling to the Jungle in the first round instead.