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Jamaal Charles targeting Chiefs return by playoffs

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The Kansas City Chiefs are sitting on a secret weapon if they lock up a playoff berth in the next few weeks.

Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles is eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 17 after undergoing surgery to trim his meniscus early last month.

Barring a setback, Charles will rejoin his teammates in January, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

"From what I understand, Jamaal Charles is doing well," Rapoport said on Thursday's edition of Up to the Minute Live. "He's working hard and is targeting the first week of the playoffs for a return.

At 5.5 yards per carry, Charles boasts the second-highest career average in NFL history. If he can recapture 2014 form -- and the meniscus trim is expected to facilitate that possibility -- he will be an intriguing addition to Andy Reid's offense.

We've spent the past couple of years bemoaning Kansas City's dearth of playmakers, but that's becoming an outdated complaint. Jeremy Maclin is a legitimate No. 1 receiver. Tight end Travis Kelce is the only NFL player to post three consecutive games of 100 or more receiving yards this season. Rookie speedster Tyreek Hill has emerged as dynamic threat after the catch and down the field.

The defense is chock full of playmakers with Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week Eric Berry and the disruptive edge-rushing trio of Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford.

Provided they don't stumble down the stretch, the Chiefs will be a tough out in a wide-open AFC playoff field.

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