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Houston Texans wary of Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce

By The Sports Xchange
Houston Texans wary of Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce hugs cornerback Marcus Peters as they celebrate Peters' interception return for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&M Bank Stadium on December 20, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Kansas City won the game 34-14. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

Big, strong and fast, Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce represents a huge matchup nightmare.

At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds with 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash, Kelce runs sharp routes and provides a big downfield target for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.

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The Houston Texans struggled mightily against Kelce last season as he combined for 14 receptions, 234 yards and two touchdowns in a pair of victories over them last season.

"Very tough matchup," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's got really good size combined with really good athletic ability. So his size and strength, his playing strength, plus the fact that he's very athletic. He's a very difficult matchup.

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"You're never going to have a guy on him in man-to-man coverage for instance that is as big as him. You have to figure out ways to cover this guy and mix it up on him. He's one of the best tight ends in the league and a guy that we have a lot of respect for."

Kelce finished last season with 72 receptions for 875 yards and five touchdowns one year after catching 67 passes for 862 yards and five touchdowns. He was rewarded this year with a five-year, $46 million contract extension. He caught six passes for 74 yards in the Chiefs' season-opener this year.

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"He's one of the best tight ends in the league," Texans free safety Andre Hal said. "Last year, he gave us a couple problems. This year, we're going to game plan for him and be ready for him. He's one of their top targets. We have to make sure we see him at all times."

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NOTES: Texans OT Duane Brown (quad surgery) and LB Brian Cushing (sprained MCL) are out for this game. ... Texans LB Whitney Mercilus' pass-rushing skills didn't go unnoticed by the NFL. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording two sacks during a win over the Chicago Bears. Mercilus had a dozen sacks last season, three more in the Texans' 30-0 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and has 17 sacks in his past 13 games.

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