Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce, Defensive Tackle Chris Jones Cleared for Week 2

The Kansas City Chiefs should look a little bit more like Super Bowl champions in Week 2. Head coach Andy Reid declared at his Friday press conference that, barring the unexpected, defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce will make their first appearances of the 2023 season on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones and Kelce were both All-Pros last year but missed the Chiefs' Week 1 21-20 loss to the Detroit Lions, Jones due to a holdout and Kelce due to a bone bruise in his knee suffered in practice.

The Chiefs were somewhat underwhelming in Week 1 without their two stars, particularly in the passing game. Two-time MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes failed to show chemistry with young pass catchers like Skyy Moore (zero receptions on three targets) and Kadarius Toney (one reception for one yard on five targets), totalling a modest 226 yards on 39 passing attempts. 

Kelce is a four-time All-Pro, an eight-time Pro Bowler, and arguably the greatest tight end of all time, so his return should go a long way toward getting the Chiefs back on track. Kelce has been mister reliable for the Chiefs for the entirety of the Mahomes era, appearing in 80 of a possible 82 games and hauling in a preposterous 507 receptions for 6444 yards and 47 touchdowns since 2018, by far the most on the team.

As for Jones, he should be mostly a bonus for a Chiefs' front seven that held up its end of the bargain in Week 1. The Chiefs logged three sacks and held the Lions to under 3.5 rushing yards per attempt even without Jones, who led all defensive tackles with a 92.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last year thanks in large part to a career-high 15.5 sacks. The Lions finished fifth in points scored in 2022, so the Chiefs should be able to build on a strong effort with Jones back in the fold.

With Jones and Kelce in place, the Chiefs will be much closer to the iconic team fans have come to know on Sunday. The Jaguars should provide an ideal measuring stick: either the Chiefs will prove they're still the class of the AFC by slaying a division winner, or real questions will begin to emerge about the viability of their pass catchers. Time will tell.

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