Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) at San Diego Chargers (6-6)
— Nobody’s quite sure what this weekend holds for starting QB Matt Cassel. The Chiefs signal-caller had an appendectomy on Wednesday and it’s unknown whether or not he’ll be able to play on Sunday. Over the last decade, the Chiefs have had two players undergo appendix removals: C Casey Weigmann in 2001 and WR Marc Boerigter in 2002. Both recoveries took three to four weeks.
— If Cassel can’t go, the gig will fall to backup Brodie Croyle. Croyle has been everything from a starter to third-stringer for the Chiefs over the last three seasons and the last time he started a game…it actually went quite well! He started the season opener in 2009 against Baltimore while Cassel dealt with a knee injury and went 16-of-24 passing for 177 yards and two TDs. He finished with a passer rating of 116.1.
— No word yet on what’s going to happen with TE Antonio Gates this weekend. His foot injury has kept him out of all practices and limited him to spot duty during games, but he still leads all NFL tight ends in receiving yards (782) and touchdown grabs (10). Pretty impressive numbers given his poor health this season.
— RB Mike Tolbert is playing with a hand injury, but it didn’t hamper him last Sunday. Still, there are ball-security concerns if Tolbert’s right hand is hit in a tender spot; look for rookie RB Ryan Mathews to try and get some more carries as he slowly gets back to 100% after a nasty ankle injury.
Denver Broncos (3-9) at Arizona Cardinals (3-9)
— This will be the first game without Josh McDaniels at the helm. It will also mark the debut of interim head coach Eric Studesville, who formerly held the role of Denver’s running backs coach. His first order of business on the job will be to try and figure out the Broncos secondary, which has been a mess this season. It’s expect that S Darcel McBath and CB Andrew Goodman will be available, but Goodman hasn’t gotten through a full game since Week 2.
— Sunday should mark the professional starting debut of QB John Skelton. Skelton, 22, is a big-bodied (6-foot-5, 244 pounds) prospect that was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Fordham University. Barring some miracle health turnarounds by Derek Anderson (concussion) and Max Hall (dislocated left shoulder), it will be Skelton under center on the weekend for the Cards.