Chiefs safety Tyvon Branch is in line to earn significantly more playing time on Sunday because of the concussion that starting safety Husain Abdullah sustained this week in practice.
Interestingly enough, the Chiefs' opponent this weekend is the Oakland Raiders — the team Branch spent the first seven years of his career with before the free-agent deal he signed with the Chiefs in March.
Branch, 28, had some great years in Oakland — he averaged nearly 100 tackles a season as a starter from 2009 to 2012 — before injuries ruined his 2013 and 2014 campaigns. But when asked if Sunday's game means anything to him, he preferred to turn the spotlight back toward the team.
“It means something for our playoff implications,” Branch said. “I've got a lot of relationships out there with people, so obviously it's going to get interesting when I get out there on the field, but I'm not thinking about it, man.”
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The Chiefs, 6-5, can create some distance between themselves and the Raiders, 5-6, in the wild-card race with a victory. In Abdullah's absence, Branch could be the next man up at safety, though Ron Parker and Daniel Sorensen can also play safety next to Eric Berry, as well.
Branch, who has 23 tackles and two pass deflections, has spent much of the season on special teams and contributing in the Chiefs' defensive subpackages. He logged 19 defensive snaps in the Chiefs' 30-22 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, only 13 fewer than Abdullah.