The Kansas City Chiefs once again find themselves in the AFC Championship Game in a season where the doubters came out in full force. Even with all of the anti-Chiefs takes out in the sports world, it is the Baltimore Ravens who have the most to prove in Sunday's AFC Championship as likely MVP Lamar Jackson looks to quell his postseason demons once and for all.
Sure, the Ravens beat the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round but it is going to take more than one playoff win for those doubts to go away. If Jackson and the Ravens can get past the Chiefs then nobody can question Lamar in the playoffs, even if this run doesn't result in a Super Bowl.
Kansas City has been here plenty of times before and that is arguably the team's biggest advantage in this matchup. Where the Ravens are going to be tense and nervous, the Chiefs will be loose and ready to take advantage. Even though they are the road team, the Chiefs may be the more comfortable team on Sunday.
Travis Kelce certainly knows this and he wasted no time playing mind games before Sunday's game even kicked off. Kelce completely disregarded the fact that the Chiefs were on the road and took exception to Justin Tucker warming up in Patrick Mahomes' way. So Kelce did what any reasonable superstar tight end would do: he kicked all of Tucker's gear away to the side.
Chiefs' Travis Kelce plays mind games with Ravens, Justin Tucker
Tucker didn't even bother to break his stretch or do anything in retaliation to Kelce. The All-Pro kicker just accepted what was happening and did so with a smile on his face.
This all stemmed from a moment between Mahomes and Tucker before Kelce entered the fray. Tucker was taking kicks in Mahomes' throwing area, prompting the two-time MVP to continually kick Tucker's holder away from him. The two exchanged brief pleasantries, and Kelce eventually came in to get his quarterback's back.
Moments like these may seem trivial, and in a Week 7 game between two bad teams, it would be. But ahead of the biggest game of either team's season, moments like these are meant to send a message. The Chiefs don't care that they are on the road, or that the Ravens are favored. This is still their game to lose.
Don't think for one second that Tucker won't be thinking about this moment during this game. And who knows, one momentary lapse of focus could end up changing this game entirely. A field goal could very well decide this game, and Kelce is making sure that he is getting in the opposing kicker's head early.
Just remember this moment if Tucker ends up shanking a field goal or extra-point attempt in the AFC Championship. Because if he does, it very well may stem back to this seemingly innocuous moment with Kelce before the game.