Report: Drew Brees will start for Saints vs. Chiefs in return from rib fractures

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Drew Brees will start for the New Orleans Saints in a key matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Brees had been on the injured reserve list with fractured ribs. Doctors reportedly believe he is fully healthy and he has been cleared to play.

Taysom Hill started in the veteran’s absence, leading the Saints to a 3-1 record. New Orleans is in a tight race with the Green Bay Packers for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. It’s the only spot that will have a first-round bye in the expanded playoff scenario for 2020.

Drew Brees raises his fist.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will reportedly be back against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Brees returned to practice in Week 15

Brees was activated from IR this week and returned to practice on Wednesday. It was his first practice since he broke multiple ribs in a Week 10 win against the San Francisco 49ers. He also had a punctured lung.

Saints head coach Sean Payton didn’t rule out Brees returning this weekend but also said the team wouldn’t rush back the All-Pro quarterback.

Hill led Saints in Brees’ absence

Hill got the starting job over Jameis Winson while Brees was out and kept the team near the top of the standings. The Saints’ sole loss was by three points to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14.

A dual-threat, Hill threw for four touchdowns and rushed for four more scores. But he had two interceptions, six fumbles and took 13 sacks over the four games. Brees by comparison had five fumbles and 10 sacks in his 10 games this season.

NFL playoff picture: Saints-Chiefs impact

With only three more regular season games until the playoffs, most contests have some impact on the postseason picture. The Saints (10-3) already clinched their spot and can clinch the NFC South division title with a win this week.

With last week’s loss the Saints lost the top spot in the NFC to the Packers (10-3), who have the tiebreaker over the Saints. To win back the first-round bye they’ll need one more win than Green Bay, and the best chance to do that is with a fully healthy Brees.

The Saints play the Chiefs, Vikings and Panthers. The Packers have the Panthers, Titans and Bears.

The Chiefs (12-1) have already won the AFC West division title and are looking to get more. They can clinch a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed with a win, a loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers and a loss or tie by the Buffalo Bills.

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