In making back-to-back trips to the playoffs for the first time since 2000-02, the Las Vegas Raiders will navigate the NFL’s fourth-hardest rated schedule, according to Pro Football Focus.
Tight end is a position that isn’t as deep as others that the Raiders will contend with this season, but still, there are multiple players to keep your eyes on.
Now reaching No. 1 on the list, did you expect anyone else to be in this spot?
Probably not, as Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs has been tormenting the Raiders and their fans for a long time now.
The former third-round draft choice has emerged as the most prolific tight end in the NFL, recording 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of the last six seasons.
That total is the most in NFL history among tight ends, as Kelce already has the sixth-most yards among all tight ends to ever play in the league.
That production has only increased since Patrick Mahomes became the Chiefs’ starting quarterback in 2018.
Kelce has had no fewer than 92 catches in a season since then, and both of his double-digit touchdown seasons have come alongside Mahomes.
Of course, a fair amount of that production has come at the Raiders’ expense.
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Kelce has racked up the equivalent of a full season’s worth of stats against the silver and black, recording six 100-plus yard games against the Raiders.
That’s including three of the last four meetings between the teams, as the Raiders have only seemed to regress in having any ability to contain the star tight end.
Even with Kelce now entering his early 30s, there’s no reason to think he’s slowing down anytime soon.
With the Chiefs trading their other star receiver in Tyreek Hill, Kelce is now the unquestioned top target in the Chiefs offense.
That means that the seven-time Pro Bowler will have more opportunities going forward to put up big numbers against the Raiders.
One could say that the Raiders would then be able to focus more attention on stopping Kelce with him being the focus of the Chiefs’ offense, but it’ll have to be seen before it’s believed.
That’s the benchmark that the Raiders have to reach, as stopping Kelce and the Chiefs is the best way for them to be seen as legitimate contenders.
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