5 toughest TE matchups for Packers in 2021 season

Green Bay Packers - Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers - Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers‘ defense will come up against not only some of the best quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers in the NFL this season, but also the top two tight ends.

Joe Barry’s defense will need to be strong in the middle of the field when they match up with some of the best pass-catching tight ends in the game.

Who are the best tight ends on the schedule this season?

5. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Austin Hooper was a reliable target for Matt Ryan in his four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, and the same was true in his first year with the Cleveland Browns although his numbers did drop from the season prior.

Still, Hooper is a talented tight end with 14 touchdown catches over the past three seasons.

4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

A third-round pick in 2018, Mark Andrews has become one of the best tight ends in the league. He’s put up 2,105 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in his first three seasons and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2019.

Andrews is a huge part of the Baltimore Ravens‘ passing game and has 236 targets in three seasons. The Packers’ defense will need to be ready for Andrews.

3. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

T.J. Hockenson is one of the best young tight ends in football and, entering year three, he could be set for a breakout season.

Hockenson improved in his second season with 723 yards and six touchdowns, and he made his first Pro Bowl as a result. Hockenson is also a great blocker, which means he plays a lot of snaps for the Detroit Lions.

If Hockenson continues to improve, he’s going to be a star.

2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

The Packers have had all sorts of problems trying to cover George Kittle in the past. He caught six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown the last time he played the Packers in the regular season.

Kittle is an all-world tight end with two All-Pro selections and two Pro Bowls in four years. And last season doesn’t really count as he missed eight games.

When healthy, you can make a case that Kittle is the best tight end in football.

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce’s consistency is just insane. He’s put up over 1,000 yards receiving five years in a row. Most wide receivers don’t achieve that. He also has 38 touchdown catches in that time.

In the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offense with Patrick Mahomes his quarterback, Kelce is pretty much unstoppable. And the numbers back it up.

No tight end in history has as many 1,000-yard seasons as Kelce, and no tight end has put up more receiving yards in a single season as Kelce’s 1,416 in 2020.

A five-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler, and one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, Kelce is going to give the Packers’ defense a lot of problems in Week 9.