Travis Kelce doesn't need to beat Rob Gronkowski, just needs to be himself

The Chiefs need a big game from Travis Kelce (0:53)

ESPN NFL Nation Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher says Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce is a pivotal player in Saturday's playoff game, particularly if the injured Jeremy Maclin doesn't play. (0:53)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs has said he wants to be the best tight end in football, and what better time to prove it than against the player who currently holds the title?

Fortunately for the Chiefs, Kelce doesn't seem to be worried about outperforming Rob Gronkowski as he prepares for Saturday's divisional round playoff game against the Patriots in New England. The Chiefs just need Kelce to do what he does and not try to do too much, as he's been guilty of before.

"We're in a single-elimination game," Kelce said. "I have no focus or no care for anything that offense does . . .

"I have no control over what that guy does and he has no control over what I do. Hats off to him. Rob has been an outstanding tight end, needless to say, with all the stuff he's been able to do in the league."

Kelce also isn't concerned about making up for the possible absence of Jeremy Maclin, if the injured wide receiver doesn't play on Saturday. Maclin, the Chiefs' leading receiver during the regular season, has what the Chiefs have called a mild high-ankle sprain.

"If you have that on your shoulders," he said, "you don't go out and be yourself."

New England's defensive game plans are usually geared toward eliminating an opponent's biggest threat. Particularly without Maclin, that's Kelce. He was second on the Chiefs in the regular season in catches (72), yards (875) and receiving touchdowns (5).

Albert Wilson was next in catches (35), yards (451) and receiving TDs (2).

Kelce shrugged off the challenge.

"They're (famous) for throwing anything at you, whether it be a certain type of coverage, a certain type of blitz," Kelce said. "You've got to make sure you've got your answers for everything they throw at you."

With all this said, the Chiefs still need Kelce to play big. If he plays as he did in last week's playoff win over Houston, when he caught eight passes for 128 yards, he'll be known as one of the game's best tight ends regardless of what Gronkowski does on Saturday.