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2023 NFL Kickoff Game: Lions at Chiefs prediction and open thread

Thursday night football is back!!

Kansas City Chiefs v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The sweet, sweet sound of that opening whistle is about to sounds, and we are mere hours away from the opening kickoff of the 2023 NFL season. Finally. Fans across the country will get treated to an exciting match-up — if not a marquee one — between the reigning Super Bowl Champions and a 2022 playoff squad 9-8 team that made it possible for another 9-8 team to make the playoffs with their Week 18 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Of course I am talking about the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions!

It should come as little surprise to anybody who has been following the NFL for the last couple of seasons that DraftKings Sportsbook has the Kansas City Chiefs listed as 4.5-point home-favorites over the traveling Detroit Lions. But things are a bit interesting; they opened as 6.5-point favorites, but Patrick Mahomes will very likely be missing Travis Kelce, who is set to return as the team’s top receiving threat but may miss Week 1 due to a knee injury. Kelce has put up at least 1,000 yards receiving in every season since 2016, and has only missed two games during that span of time. His presence would surely be missed, even by an offense as potent as Andy Reid’s. Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions have a relatively clean injury report heading into the game, although they have ruled out free agent acquisition Emmanuel Moseley — who played with the San Francisco 49ers last season.

Even given the state of injuries on the respective rosters, the Chiefs are still favored by a decent margin, and this makes sense to me. If the game were in Michigan, I might be more bullish on the Lions’ odds of an upset. However, I simply can’t bet against Patrick Mahomes at home, and the Lions are going to be leaning on some rookie playmakers on offense like Jahmyr Gibbs. The Chiefs and Lions were ranked first and fifth — respectively — in total scoring last season, so I am expecting these teams to put up some points en route to a solid Chiefs home win to start off their victory lap.

The Pick: Over 52 points, Chiefs win straight up and cover the spread

The game kicks off at 5:20pm PT on NBC and Peacock. This is your open thread. Here’s how the staff is picking via Tallysight: