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Brandon Staley on playing starters: Only 48 guys to choose from, no easy decisions

Steve Kornacki runs through which teams have been eliminated from the playoff race in Week 18 and dives into Wild Card matchups for both the AFC and NFC.

When the Ravens lost to the Bengals in the early window of games on Sunday, the Chargers knew they would be the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs with a game in Jacksonville on tap next weekend.

That made it a surprise to many people that the Chargers both played their starters and kept them on the field deep into their game against the Broncos. That decision came under even greater scrutiny when wide receiver Mike Williams left the game with a back injury — X-rays were negative and more tests are coming Monday — and Staley was left to defend his course during a press conference after the 31-28 loss.

“There’s only 48 guys that you can choose from and these aren’t easy decisions,” Staley said, via Nicholas Cothrel of “Hindsight is perfect for everybody on the outside, but these games are not easy to manage. They’re not, because you don’t have that many players. We did it to the best of our ability.”

Williams’ status will be closely monitored with a Saturday night game in Jacksonville on the docket. If he can’t go, Staley’s approach to Week 18 could limit the team’s chances of moving forward in the postseason.