Travis Kelce: Browns ‘neck and neck’ with Chiefs in AFC

Tight end Travis Kelce believes the Cleveland Browns are serious challengers to his Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC entering the 2021 season.

Kelce, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was at Browns receiver Jarvis Landry’s celebrity softball game in a suburb of Cleveland. Kelce told the Akron Beacon Journal that he sees the Browns as “definitely a contender” coming off their first playoff appearance in nearly 20 years.

“It’s definitely there,” Kelce said. “Baker (Mayfield) and the gang have upped the ante, made this team an unbelievable team and a team you have to prepare for and take serious. I think that moving forward without a doubt, I can see a lot more playoff games between us, and I’ll just take it one day at a time and hope for it.

“I think the Browns and Chiefs are definitely neck and neck,” he added.

Kelce’s Chiefs defeated the Browns 22-17 in last season’s AFC Divisional Round on their way to their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

Despite that loss, 2020 was Cleveland’s best season in recent memory after being bottom-feeders for years. The Browns finished 11-5, their best record since 1994, and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild card round for their first postseason win since that same season.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, have built one of the league’s best teams with former MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the center of it. Kansas City owns the winningest regular-season record in the NFL over the past five seasons, 60-20.

The Chiefs are scheduled to host the Browns at Arrowhead Stadium to open the 2021 season.

“It’s impressive to see where they’ve come from and where they are now because it’s a legit contender,” Kelce said, “and every team’s going to have to bring it.”