The Chiefs Hang Another Banner: Kansas City Hosts Detroit in Season Opener, How Will the Defending Champs Look in 2023?

The Kansas City Chiefs are set to face off against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night to open the 2023 NFL Season. With the uncertainties of Chris Jones suiting up for the Chiefs, the new Wide Receivers, and the new offensive line, how can the Chiefs look in 2023?

The last time these two teams played each other, Detroit and Kansas City were on divergent paths, the Lions were starting to rebuild and Kansas City was on its way to its first Super Bowl title in fifty years. Now it seems like the Lions are starting to head towards being competitive in the NFC, while Kansas City looks to defend its second Super Bowl title in four seasons.

The Lions are now quarterbacked by the veteran Jared Goff, who last played Mahomes in the infamous 51-50 MNF clash in LA and is seemingly leading another high-flying offense into Arrowhead. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are seemingly prepared and ready to take on another title defense, even without their star defensive stalwart Chris Jones. What should we expect in this first matchup against the Lions and who will be some key players that change the momentum of the game for Kansas City?


The Chiefs offense was one of the most intriguing units going into the off-season and preseason due to the weapons we had in the wide receiver room. This will be the first time in Andy Reid’s tenure as a head coach having seven wide receivers on the active roster.

Preseason standout Justyn Ross, an undrafted second-year player out of Clemson, has been much talked about as he made play after play. With his ability to highpoint the ball and win in jump ball situations, his presence on the goal line will be crucial to the Chiefs’ goal-line success. If Ross can continually make tough high-pointed catches in the endzone, he definitely could be the future at the position for the Chiefs.

Kadarius Toney is expected to play on Thursday night after missing most of training camp and all of preseason with a knee injury. Toney has a long history of injuries in his professional career and the newest seemed to be minor, if he’s able to play a lot of snaps on Thursday night, it will be a sign in the right direction for him. With his elusiveness and quick twitch instinct, Toney seemingly will have a big role with KC this season, as long as he can stay on the field on opening night.

What should we expect in his return? Well, expect Toney to have a lot of touches, with Travis Kelce getting the most attention from the opposing defenses, Toney will have the chance to showcase his elusiveness. Expect him to get touches off of quick throws in space or off of motion, as he’s going to be seen as WR1. If Toney can take away defenders, watch out for Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice to get some big targets throughout, They both had great offseasons for Kansas City and are looking to make an impact in the WR room.


On the defensive side of the ball, Chris Jones is not expected to play in the season opener due to his contract holdout, which means the Chiefs will rely on Turk Wharton, Derrick Nnadi, Neil Ferrell, and Keondre Coburn to step up in his absence. Wharton has shown flashes in previous seasons, if he’s healthy he should get the most action in Jones’ spot due to his physicality and knowledge of the system. The other guys who the Chiefs will be looking to step up in Jones’s absence are edge rushers George Karlaftis and Mike Danna.

Danna has improved each season while in Kansas City and he has a chance to solidify himself on this front youthful four in a contract year. Karlaftis on the other hand is looking to improve on an outstanding second half of his rookie season in Kansas City, he finished the season with 5 sacks, including two in the playoffs. Other notable players to watch for are rookies Felix Anudike-Uzomah and B.J. Thompson as they try to find their roles in the edge rushing rotation, both will get considerable playing time on Thursday Night and it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up with the veterans.

In the defensive backfield, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed has been cleared to play and he adds the missing piece to a unit that struggled in the preseason. Sneed had a minor knee injury he played the entire postseason with in 2022, it seemed like it wouldn’t be a problem in 2023, but it kept flaring up. The Chiefs’ medical staff kept Sneed out of most of the contact and padded drills throughout training camp and the standout corner didn’t suit up in the preseason at all.

With Sneed back on the field, the Chiefs have one of the best blitzing and hard-hitting corners in the game, his knowledge and instincts kept a very young defensive secondary in check as they won the Super Bowl. If he can play a lot on Thursday, expect the secondary to look a lot better against Detriot.


Although KC could be without star DT Chris Jones, they still have the core pieces that make this ship run with Reid, Mahomes, and Kelce. Even though the Chiefs are stronger with his presence on the defensive line, Bolton and Gay will be able to lead the way on the defense making them competitive as a unit.

The Arrowhead Live prediction for the season opener will be the Chiefs blazing by the Detroit Lions beating them with a score of 38-21 with Mahomes throwing over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns total and the defense committing two turnovers and 3 sacks total.

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