Tackle Eric Fisher injured his Achilles in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, and head coach Andy Reid didn't sound optimistic about Fisher's status going forward after the contest.
"It doesn't look too good," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters after the game.
The potential absence of Fisher could be huge. For one, the Chiefs are already without their other starting tackle, Mitchell Schwartz, who hasn't played since Week 7 due to a back injury.
And Tampa Bay's pass rush is no joke, led by Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, who combined for 17.5 sacks this season and five against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Add in linebacker Devin White (nine sacks this season) and interior lineman Ndamukong Suh (six sacks), and Tampa's front seven is no joke.
Granted, the Chiefs will counter with the best quarterback in football, Patrick Mahomes, and one of the most dynamic and creative offensive schemes in football. The Chiefs are elite when it comes to stretching teams both vertically and horizontally, and attempting to blitz Mahomes opens up potential mismatches down the field for stars Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
The best way to slow down the Chiefs is to generate consistent pressure with just four pass-rushers. Fisher's injury could make things a bit easier for the Bucs in that regard.
Tampa's defensive line vs. Kansas City's offensive line was already one of the most intriguing matchups of this Super Bowl. Fisher's injury only magnifies the importance of that particular battle in the trenches.