It’s time to put all those preseason predictions to the test. The NFL finally returns tonight with the Lions and Chiefs on Thursday Night Football! 2023 is expected to be another great year of entertainment for NFL fans, and it’ll start with a bang as two of the league’s most exciting teams will battle in Kansas City. The opening lines for tonight have the Chiefs as 4.5-point favourites and the over/under total at 52.5, so expect to see a lot of scoring between these great offences.
For Detroit, tonight is all about proving that the second half of last season wasn’t a fluke. After starting 1-6 in 2022, the Lions roared back with eight wins in their last ten contests to finish the season with a winning record. Even though they just missed out on the postseason, last year’s run certainly showed fans that Dan Campbell has this organization finally going in the right direction.
The Lions have talent all over the field, and one of the players to watch in tonight’s game will be rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs was selected 12th overall out of Alabama in last year’s draft and is expected to make an immediate impact in both the rushing and passing attack. With more running backs coming out of college with the ability to run and catch the ball, Gibbs could represent the new type of back we’ll see more and more of in the next decade. It may take a few games, but Gibbs’ rookie season could look a lot like Alvin Kamara’s in 2017.
Besides the rookie running back, look for Amon-Ra St. Brown to be a large focus for Detroit’s offence. In the last two years, St. Brown has cemented himself as one of the best receivers in the NFC, and there’s no doubt that Jared Goff will be going to him early and often. On defence, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Aidan Hutchinson will have on the game. The 2nd year lineman was fantastic in the second half of 2022 and had the ability to disrupt Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offence all night.
Unlike Detroit, the Chiefs are running out of things to prove. Heading into last season, many doubted their offence would work the same without the freakish talent of Tyreek Hill. All they did was win the Super Bowl. Now, Patrick Mahomes comes into his seventh season as the top player in the league, as voted by his peers, with yet another Super Bowl in his sights.
No one’s doubting that this offence will be an effective one again in 2023, but it’s unclear how they’ll get it done. With Juju Smith-Schuster gone, the Chiefs have a roster full of young wide receivers with a ton of potential and little to no experience. If Travis Kelce can’t play tonight, expect Mahomes to use his full arsenal of options, which includes Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Richie James, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and running back Jerick McKinnon.
On defence, they may also be without another standout player to start the season. Chris Jones is still holding out due to contract negotiations, and by the sounds of it, the team and the player aren’t very close to agreeing on a number. Jones is a huge factor for Kansas City’s defensive line, and without him, the dangerous Detroit offence could put up some big numbers.
Lions and Chiefs: The Pick
Tonight’s opener between the Lions and Chiefs should be exactly what fans missed about the NFL all summer. Expect a lot of touchdowns, offence, and a close game throughout. For the pick tonight, we’ll take the total points OVER 52.5. After going this long without football, how can you not cheer for the points?