On Thursday, the NFL will release its entire 2023 football schedule, and in a lead-up to the main event, the league has been slowly announcing some of its biggest games of the season.
After a 2022 season that saw the Detroit Lions have zero primetime games — until they were flexed to “Sunday Night Football” in Week 18, so they could smack the Packers around on national television — Detroit is getting a quick promotion to loftier games in 2023. Not only will the Lions take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during primetime in Week 1, but this game will kick off the entire 2023 season on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 8:20 pm ET.
That is a huge step in the right direction for Detroit as an organization, as it’s clear evidence that they are not only earning national attention but respect from the league as well.
That being said, while Detroit is building a contender, Vegas still isn’t convinced that they are ready to compete with the big boys just yet, and the folks over at DraftKings have set the opening line for this game as Chiefs -7.
Seven points is a lot, but it’s also not entirely unexpected. The Chiefs are coming off a Super Bowl-winning season, while the Lions finished 9-8 and just missed the playoffs. Additionally, opening weekend tends to be highly unpredictable due to offseason changes with every NFL team, so it makes sense for Vegas to lean towards the franchise that has a more stable recent history. Since 2015, Chiefs coach Andy Reid is wildly successful in Week 1, leading the Chiefs to an 8-0 record with an average margin of victory of 12.4 points.
The Lions and Chiefs have played 14 games in their franchise's histories, with the Chiefs holding a 9-5 advantage, including winning the previous two contests in 2019 and 2015 (in London, England). It’s been two decades since the Lions and Chiefs have faced off in Arrowhead, with the Lions last win in Kansas City coming in 1998.
Although, it’s also worth noting that in 2022, the Lions were 12-5 in covering the spread, have won eight of their last 10 games, and this franchise very much embodies general manager Brad Holmes’ philosophy that, “We don't draft scared. We don’t play scared.”
Time to make a statement and get back in the win column.