Chiefs Travis Kelce Could Make History This Season

December 8, 2020

Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos was not the best the Kansas City Chiefs have played this year. They got the win, which is the only thing that matters. But the game is going to hold some special significance for Travis Kelce.

With a 19-yard catch in the second quarter Sunday night against Denver, he cracked 1,000 receiving yards for the season for a fifth consecutive year. No other tight end even tallied five 1,000+ receiving yards season in their careers.

He has now done it for the last five.

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Kelce is also the only tight end to reach the 1,050+ yards inside his team’s first 12 games (he also did it in 2018). With how the season is going, there is an excellent chance he could break George Kittle’s single-season receiving record by a tight end (1,377 yards).

But there is another record he could break, and this one could cement his future spot in the Hall of Fame.

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Travis Kelce—Receiving Yards Champ?

With 136 yards off eight catches Sunday night against the Broncos, Kelce’s receiving yards total increased to 1,114 yards—good enough for second best in the league behind DK Metcalf. The difference between the two?

Five yards. That’s all.

With just five yards separating Kelce from the lead, it is safe to say he has an excellent chance of becoming the first tight end in league history to lead the league in receiving yards.

One guy came close back in 1980. San Diego Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow Sr. had 1,290 yards, 50 yards less than the league leader.

Winslow came in third during the strike-shortened 1982 season. Since then, no tight end has finished inside the top three. It looks like that is going to change this season. But will he be in first, second, or third?

Yes, none of the prolific tight ends we have seen in recent years have even come close. Rob Gronkowski’s best year was in 2011, when he had 1,327 yards. He was nowhere near the league leader that year, Calvin Johnson, who had 1,681.

Playing in an offense like Kansas City has is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because there will be ample opportunity for him to wrack up yards in the Chiefs offense.

But it is a curse because the Chiefs have so many weapons. Kelce could be Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target one week and forgotten the next. Or Tyreek Hill, who is 35 yards behind Kelce in third, could become the favorite for a few weeks and overtake him.

While he may have Hill to worry about, it looks like just a matter of time before Kelce passes Metcalf.

Seattle has been struggling on offense the last five weeks, and it shows in their record (2-3) and Metcalf’s stats. In those five, he has two 100+ yard games but also has two sub-50 yard ones. Last week he had 80 against the New York Giants for a total of 440 yards.

In that same time frame, Kelce had four 100+ yard games; his total—613 yards.

There is no reason to think Kelce will fall out of favor with Patrick Mahomes down the stretch. But it is unclear what the Seahawks offense is going to look like. If Russell Wilson cannot get the offense back on track, Kelce’s only real competition might be his own teammate, Tyreek Hill, instead.

The two have been targeted an equal number of times (111), but Kelce has made eight more receptions than Hill. But Hill is averaging a yard more per catch than Kelce (14.6 to 13.6).

So – How Should You Bet?

Betting Play: Take Travis Kelce (+350 via BetMGM) to lead the league in receiving yards. But, just in case, put a little something down on Tyreek Hill (+450). 

Tight ends used to be just another offensive lineman. Some teams still look at tight ends primarily as blockers, but more see them now as weapons for the passing game—and Travis Kelce is one of the best (if not the best).

He is going to continue to thrive in the final four games of the season. The only thing that may hold him back is if Andy Reid decides to sit him for the regular-season finale. But if he sits Kelce, he will probably sit Hill as well.

However, Seattle might not sit anyone since they could still be in the running for the NFC West title.

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