NFL playoff picture: Chargers' chances could hinge on Chiefs rested starters

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs are going to rest all their starters against the Chargers, throwing a wrench into the Week 17 playoff picture.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid hinted earlier in the week that he would rest his starters against the San Diego Chargers. Nobody really knew how much they would play, but we have our answer. Nearly every key starter is listed as inactive, including Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and several defensive starters.

The Chiefs already have the No. 5 seed locked up, making this a glorified preseason game for them. It's a big break for the Chargers, who need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

San Diego still has an outside shot at the No. 6 seed in the AFC, but it needs the Ravens and Dolphins to lose. Miami is doing its part, being down 14-7 to the Jets, but the Ravens could make this all moot. They came back from a 17-9 deficit to tie things up against the Bengals.

If the Chargers somehow lose to the Chiefs' backups, that also opens things up for the Steelers. Pittsburgh has a comfortable lead over the Browns and needs losses by the Ravens, Dolphins and Chargers to get that final playoff spot.

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