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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Finding a way to slow down Travis Kelce

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Countless tight ends have had field days at the expense of the Giants in recent years.

One of the NFL’s best, Travis Kelce, has gotten a shot at them just once. But he will have another Monday night in Kansas City as the Giants will be tasked with trying to contain the dangerous tight end.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” safety Logan Ryan said. “We’re going to have to mix it up with him.

“In order to beat the Chiefs, you’ve got to take care of Travis Kelce or make him have a frustrating day. You gotta hit him at the line of scrimmage. It’s going to take all three levels to really affect Travis Kelce.”

Through seven weeks, Kelce leads all tight ends with 45 catches and 533 yards, to go with four touchdowns. The receptions and yards rank fifth and 12th overall, respectively, for all pass catchers.

Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce
Getty Images

That’s a daunting matchup for any defense, never mind one that has typically struggled to cover tight ends, despite ranking in the middle of the pack against them this season. Across seven games, the Giants have given up 37 catches (ranked 15th) for 341 yards (20th) and four touchdowns (tied for 21st) to opposing tight ends. They opened the season by allowing a tight end to score a touchdown in four straight games before shutting them out the last three.

In the only game of his career against the Giants, in 2017, Kelce had eight catches for 109 yards. But Ryan, who figures to have a hand in covering Kelce, has seen more of him — dating back to college when his Rutgers played Kelce’s Cincinnati, and more recently in the 2020 AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and Titans.

“Hall of Famer,” Ryan said. “He has great chemistry with his quarterback, great hands, good routes, good wiggle. He’s able to always uncover. He just has a great mind for the game. He doesn’t run the routes how you would teach a high-schooler or how they’re drawn up in the playbook. He kind of runs them to get open. So he’s just a really good player that knows how to get open, catch the ball and run afterwards.”

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