There has been one major injury update to watch this week for the Kansas City Chiefs and that was the potential return of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, it appears they’ll have to wait at least one more week to get the starting ball carrier back in the lineup. Beat reporter Herbie Teope tweeted that head coach Andy Reid said: “RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) will be listed as out for Sunday’s game vs. Steelers.”
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Better or Worse Without CEH?
A contingent of Chiefs Kingdom seems to have soured on CEH but whether he’s turned into a disappointment or not, the offense does seem to operate better with him in the mix. Coach Reid generally asks the former first-round pick to gain the gritty yards and even if he doesn’t light up the stat sheet, he serves a necessary purpose for this unit.
For example, KC has won the past five games Edwards-Helaire has played and outside of Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers, they’ve done so comfortably. Those scorelines were:
- Week 11- Dallas Cowboys, 19-9.
- Week 13- Denver Broncos, 22-9.
- Week 14- Las Vegas Raiders, 48-9.
- Week 15- Chargers, 34-28.
- Week 16- Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-10.
That last result on the list should take centerstage for obvious reasons. CEH did score a rushing touchdown against Pittsburgh but he wasn’t very effective otherwise with 3.0 yards per carry on nine attempts. He also caught one pass for four yards.
With Edwards-Helaire involved, however, Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore appeared to have more success combining for 98 rushing yards that game. The pair of backups also put together a great performance against the Raiders in Week 14 and Williams was excellent vs. the Broncos the week before.
For whatever reason, this group seems to work best in tandem. None of these backs can truly handle the workhorse role and constant rotation does wonders for their game.
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Williams & Hill Should Play
Teope followed the Edwards-Helaire announcement with a positive update on the aforementioned Williams and superstar Tyreek Hill. Per Reid: “[Hill] and [Williams] will play Sunday night ‘unless something happens.'”
This final ruling came with a bit of a caveat but as expected, CEH should be the only Chief missing on Wildcard Weekend.
With the running back out, both Williams and (of course) Hill will be huge additions for Patrick Mahomes and this offense.
Steelers RB Officially ‘Questionable’
Around the same time on January 14, NFL insider Field Yates also tweeted: “Steelers RB Najee Harris (elbow) practiced in full today and is officially questionable to play on Sunday against the Chiefs.”
Based on his full practice, it appears the talented rookie is trending towards suiting up against KC. Harris started all 17 games in 2021 so it would stand to reason that this Steelers offense wouldn’t operate the same without him.
The dual-threat has accounted for 381 total touches and 1,667 scrimmage yards during his inaugural campaign with 10 total touchdowns and 84 first downs.
You won’t find wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the injury report but he should also be considered questionable to play in round one of the NFL playoffs.