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Chiefs plan to limit key starters' playing time Sunday

The SportsXchange

With Sunday's regular-season finale having no bearing on the Kansas City Chiefs' playoff seed, coach Andy Reid plans to "mix and match" starters and reserves against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chiefs (11-4) have locked down the AFC's No. 5 seed for the postseason.

"I'm going to work some guys in," Reid said, according to The Kansas City Star. "Most of them have already worked in. ... I talked to the team, and I will have it figured out by the end of the week exactly how I'm going to work it."

Reid has experience dealing with similar situation during his time as Philadelphia Eagles coach.

"We'll give the starters a series or two and then go to the backups," Reid said.

Quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles and outside linebacker Tamba Hali are expected to see limited action. Hali missed practice on Tuesday because of a swollen knee.

Smith said there is an upside to playing in Week 17. The 29-year-old veteran has started all 15 games in his first season with Kansas City after leaving the San Francisco 49ers.

"If you play, the argument is you're staying in rhythm, you're keeping your timing, you're staying used to the speed of the game," Smith said. "The negative is an injury.

"By not playing, the benefit there is you're getting healthy and fresh. The downside is you're missing out on some game experience and rhythm and maybe some momentum heading into the playoffs."

Smith's backup is Chase Daniel, who has only played near the end of two games for the Chiefs this year and threw nine passes in four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. Behind Charles at running back is rookie Knile Davis.

The game may or may not have playoff implications for the Chargers. If either the Miami Dolphins or Baltimore Ravens wins early games on Sunday, one of the two would clinch the AFC's No. 6 spot. If both lose, the Chargers could get in with a win.
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