Trent McDuffie, Cornerback
In my opinion, the injury that has the biggest chance to impact the game on Thursday is the Trent McDuffie hamstring injury. It was reported that he strained his left hamstring against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. He was officially placed on injured reserve yesterday, thus eliminating the possibility of him playing against the Los Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Las Vegas Raiders.
In his absence on Sunday, rookie Jaylen Watson saw the majority of snaps and played well in relief, especially for a seventh-round rookie.
Since McDuffie is out for the next several games, that puts a lot more pressure on the remaining Chiefs cornerbacks to stay healthy. One break that the Chiefs have going for them is that the Chargers’ best wide receiver Keenan Allen was injured on Sunday and his status for Thursday is not looking positive. If Allen were to miss the game, as he is expected to, that would put a lot less pressure on the Chiefs’ cornerbacks and McDuffie’s absence won’t be as difficult to swallow. Wide receiver is also not a position of strength for the Colts and the Bucs may be without Chris Godwin in Week 4.
Since McDuffie is out for at least the next four games, Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams are the clear next guys up for Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Although I am high on Watson and Williams, I’m not sure that the Chiefs should be comfortable with them playing significant snaps against some of the NFL’s best quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Tom Brady, as they are both rookies. L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton will likely manage against star receivers Mike Williams, Mike Evans, and Davante Adams but another injury at the cornerback position has the potential to be catastrophic for the secondary. Spagnuolo may also use rookie safety Bryan Cook more instead of relying solely on Watson and/or Williams.
Cornerback was already a position of concern due to the youth at the position, so losing McDuffie for at least four games may cause some problems for a Chiefs defense that’s had a lot of hype heading into the season.