The Detroit Lions will be reportedly be a part of the opening game of the 2023 season, kicking off against the World Champion Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, September 7 at 8:20 p.m. ET. This was first reported by Lions twitter account LionsRoyalty, and confirmed by NFL reporter Jordan Schultz.
UPDATE: The team has now confirmed this news.
This is obviously a tremendous show of respect from the NFL, giving the Lions the national stage with the returning Super Bowl champions to open the entire 2023 NFL season. This is the first time since the NFL introduced the “Kickoff Game” in 2002 that the Lions have participated.
That respect given to Detroit is likely due to their strong finish to the 2022 season. The Lions won eight of their last 10 games and nearly made an improbable run to the playoffs despite a 1-6 start to the year. They are current favorites to win the NFC North and have the third-best odds to emerge as NFC champions.
Coincidentally, the Lions closed out the NFL’s entire 2022 regular season with a win over the Green Bay Packers on “Sunday Night Football,” resulting in the Packers getting knocked out of playoff contention. After closing out last year’s regular season, the Lions will now open it back up on one of the biggest national stages the NFL schedule has to offer.
The Chiefs have won the past two matchups against the Lions, but their last head-to-head game—in 2019—was a nailbiter. The Lions held the lead for much of the game, but Kansas City scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 23 seconds left.
If there was ever a sign that this Detroit Lions team is unlike any we have witnessed, this may be the clearest example. Your Detroit Lions are now big enough to carry the weight of the opening night of the 2023 NFL regular season.