Stopping Chiefs TE Travis Kelce crucial for Texans

Travis Kelce had eight catches for 128 yards in the Chiefs' 30-0 win over the Texans in the wild-card round. Bob Levey/Getty Images

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans didn't have much success against the Chiefs the last season, opening and closing their season with losses to Kansas City.

One especially tough matchup for the Texans on Sunday will be against tight end Travis Kelce. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said Monday that he is focusing how the Texans will stop Kelce, calling him one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

"Very tough matchup," 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. 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.”

Here are six players to watch, courtesy of ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher:


TE Travis Kelce: He had two big games against the Texans last season, combining for 14 catches, 234 yards and two touchdowns. Kelce started his season in a big way last week (6 catches for 74 yards), though his numbers weren't as impressive as in either game against Houston last year.

KR Knile Davis: He had the biggest single play of the Chiefs' first playoff win in 22 years against the Texans last season when he returned the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown. The Chiefs will need his help against a Texans defense that looks stingy.

LT Eric Fisher: He had one of the best games of his career last year in the playoffs against J.J. Watt. The Chiefs signed him to a lucrative contract extension shortly before the start of training camp for him to play well in games such as this one.


DL Allen Bailey: He had two sacks in each of the two games against the Texans last year, all from an interior position. The Chiefs' pass rush, which was sluggish for much of the game on Sunday against the Chargers, could use that kind of boost against Houston.

CB Marcus Peters: He set the tone in the season opener against the Texans last year with an interception on the first play of the game. But he struggled in covering DeAndre Hopkins the rest of the way. Peters also had an interception against the Texans in the playoffs.

LB Justin March: The Chiefs' problems against the run when they played the Chargers are not all on March. But the starting inside linebacker, who joined the Chiefs last year as an undrafted rookie, didn't play well in his first NFL game.