In a mere 10 days, on Thursday, September 7, the New England Patriots will kick off the 2017 NFL season with a primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, the defending world champions will be forced to play with its top wide receiver option of the last four years as Julian Edelman suffered an ACL tear during last week's preseason contest in Detroit.
Not only the Patriots have lost one of their top offensive skill position players over the weekend, their opening day opponent has as well. According to a report by the Kansas City Star's Terez Paylor, Chiefs running back Spencer Ware suffered a torn PCL in the team's third preseason game. The injury will likely require surgery and might keep Kansas City's number one running back out for the entire 2017 campaign.
Ware, no matter how much time he will ultimately miss, will be a big loss for a potential playoff contender. After all, he was the Chiefs' top offensive weapon last year and led the team in yards from scrimmage with 1,368. The versatile running back, who gained more than half of Kansas City's 2016 rushing yardage (921 of 1,748 yards), also added five combined scores.
The 25-year old's likely absence will push rookie Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller up the running back depth chart. All three are talented options but lack the proven big play ability of Ware. Whether this will impact the Patriots' projected defensive approach – trying to shut down the run and forcing quarterback Alex Smith to win the game – remains to be seen.
But no matter how New England will attack its opening day opponent, Ware being out undoubtedly makes the job an easier one.