Case Keenum (7) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tamba Hali not likely to play next week against Denver Broncos

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The Kansas City Chiefs ended up getting into a shootout with Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, and Rivers added a major chapter to his upstart, darkhorse candidacy for MVP by almost inexplicably leading the Chargers to a victory over the Chiefs. Even though Rivers was facing the league’s best pass defense while being backed by arguably the league’s worst pass defense, the Chargers still prevailed in a crucial 41-38 win over their AFC West rivals.

The Chiefs have now dropped their last two games after going undefeated through the first nine games, but it was still encouraging to watch Alex Smith take full advantage of a bad pass defense in front of him. It doesn’t get any easier for the Chiefs, though, because they have to face the Denver Broncos next week, and the Broncos are the only other team to have defeated them. It’s a high-stakes rematch, too, because the Chiefs and Broncos are jockeying for the division crown and a playoff by. The Broncos, of course, aren’t invincible, as the New England Patriots once again proved to us by defeating them 34-31 in overtime.

A key injury for the Chiefs could significantly hinder their chances of winning, though, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today that it is a “stretch” to believe that Kansas City Chiefs elite pass rusher Tamba Hali will be able to play against the Broncos. Fellow elite pass rusher Justin Houston also sustained an injury in the loss, as he injured his right elbow while Hali injured his right ankle.

Hopefully Houston’s prognosis is better and he’s expected to play, because the Chiefs can’t afford to lose both outside linebackers in a grudge match against the Broncos. They need these guys to put pressure on Peyton Manning and help out the secondary, which clearly does better with Houston and Hali wreaking havoc on the outside. Dontari Poe also does a better job of getting interior pressure with the two All-Pro OLBs doing their work. Houston and Hali have combined for 20 sacks this season, so their statuses for this upcoming week are crucial. I’m a neutral viewer, but I definitely hope these guys can play and give us the best ballgame possible on Sunday (plus, it sucks seeing players injured).

Don’t count on Hali playing, but keep a close eye on his status and Houston’s status, especially since we don’t have any updates on Houston early on.

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Tags: Injury Report Justin Houston Kansas City Chiefs Tamba Hali

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