Travis Kelce on Chiefs Opening 2024 Season Against Ravens, Bengals

On this week's New Heights, Kelce discussed Kansas City's opening schedule and whether he likes being challenged right out of the gate.
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Although the full 2024 NFL regular season schedule is being released on Wednesday night, some clubs already have a solid idea of a few games they'll play this coming campaign. The Kansas City Chiefs are one of them, learning their Week 1 and Week 2 fates early.

The back-to-back reigning Super Bowl champions will be tested right out of the gate. Their season-opening contest against the Baltimore Ravens is an AFC Championship Game rematch from earlier in the calendar year. Week 2 sees the potentially resurgent Cincinnati Bengals come rolling into town, posing yet another serious challenge.

Is this timing a good or bad thing for Kansas City? Opinions differ, but Travis Kelce doesn't mind it at all.

On this week's episode of the New Heights podcast with his brother Jason, Kelce addressed having two tough games to begin the year. The future Hall of Fame tight end not only embraces the challenge, but he's a fan of it.

"I do like playing the potential, like, top teams in the league early," Kelce said. "I'd rather play them early or like midseason. I don't like playing at the end of [the] season outside of the division. I just feel like it's too close to the playoffs and if I have a chance to play them in the playoffs, I want to keep that game fresh. I feel like we've always played the Bengals in December or January. In my head, I'm like, 'Man, I really just want to save the game and the excitement and the hype of that game for the playoffs.'

"Now with that being said, it comes around in the playoffs and you're still excited and it's still an unbelievable matchup. I think it's cool that this year, we play the Ravens early [and] we play the Bengals early, and those are going to be two of the best teams in the NFL. So I'm excited, and it gets those two under our belt and kind of gives us somewhere to kind of gauge where we are amongst those teams early on. I like to see where I'm at and see what direction I need to go right now, if that makes sense."

Kelce's points about December and January are more than valid. Playing a team twice within a month or so is difficult to plan for, especially a top-tier opponent. Additionally, Kelce mentioned being banged up late in the season, which is something he dealt with last year more than ever.

Getting the more trying contests out of the way early is a divisive proposition. On one hand, it does serve as a measuring stick of sorts (as Kelce referenced) and can allow a team to get off on the right foot. On the other hand, losses can snowball and playoff implications come into play almost immediately. It's a catch-22 for any franchise, let alone the defending league winners.

Regardless of how his teammates prepare for Weeks 1 and 2, Kelce appears ready. With the fate of the AFC potentially hanging in the balance at least a bit — yes, even in September — he wants to get the Ravens and Bengals out of the way.

Read More: Brett Veach on Three Chiefs UDFAs Who Could Battle for Roster Spots


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Jordan Foote

JORDAN FOOTE

Jordan Foote is the deputy editor of Arrowhead Report on SI.com, covering the Kansas City Chiefs. He also hosts the One Royal Way podcast on Kansas City Sports Network. Jordan is a Baker University alumnus, earning his degree in Mass Media. Follow him on X @footenoted.