Starting quarterback Alex Smith will not play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel will start, with the Ravens — assuming they beat Cleveland — needing the Chiefs to get a win in order to get in the postseason.
That means Ravens fans have to hope Daniel, a backup that's only received one start in his career, can get the job done on offense. With the Chiefs doing so well a year ago, Daniel started the 2013 season-finale against San Diego, coincidentally, and threw for 200 yards and a touchdown in a 27-24 overtime loss.
There's been some despair from Ravens fans on social media with this news. But here's the thing about the Chiefs — they're a run-first offense that wants to control time of possession and win with defense. As long as Daniel doesn't turn the ball over, gets good production from Jamaal Charles and receives an inspired performance from the defense against Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, then the Chiefs will at minimum have a chance to win.
Obviously, the Chiefs' chances aren't as good without Smith under center. But it's certainly far from a given that the Chargers are now guaranteed to win.