Four Things to Watch for: Lions vs. Chiefs Thursday Night Football Season Opener!

The 2023 NFL season is officially in full swing, with the reigning Super Bowl Champions taking on the Detroit Lions in an action-packed Thursday Night Football matchup.

As tonight’s game is just hours away, here are four things you should keep an eye on as the first game of the season kicks off.

Is the loss of Travis Kelce a huge hit to the team?

The Kansas City’s offense may be starting on a less than ideal note, as Travis Kelce has been sidelined due to a knee injury. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the eight-time Pro Bowl tight end suffered a bone bruise, thus ruling him out for the NFL Kickoff matchup against the Detroit Lions. Fortunately, the injury is not expected to be of a long-term nature.

The Lions’ defense must show marked improvement.

Despite their 8-2 finish last season, they still ranked in the bottom 5. The secondary was especially weak, but this matchup with Mahomes and two fresh offensive tackles will be a challenge. The Lions will be without CB Emmanuel Moseley, with Jerry Jacobs replacing him. Cam Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson and rookie Brian Branch are also part of the unit. They’d better buckle up against the wizard on Thursday.

Can Chiefs rush the passer without Jones?

In the absence of Jones, the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense has been significantly hindered. Their pressure rate has dropped from 13th to 30th, and their sack rate from 3rd to 31st without Jones on the field. The replacements do not possess the same level of ability as Jones. The Detroit Lions’ offensive line had the third-lowest sack percentage allowed last year. Though the Chiefs’ replacements have high energy, they face a difficult task in containing the passer.

Can Gibbs and LaPorta make an instant impact?

Last season, the Lions had an explosive offense, ranking in the top 10 and scoring 40+ points three times. Detroit drafted Gibbs and LaPorta in Rounds 1 and 2, respectively. They may be fast-tracked into considerable roles, but how quickly will they make an impact? They had only one combined catch in the preseason. Kansas City’s defense was average covering tight ends last season. Will these two rookies make an impact in this matchup?

Despite the various factors influencing both teams, betting sites still unanimously predict the Chiefs to come out on top against the Lions.

Who will you be rooting for in the 2023 NFL season opener? Make sure to follow us on Twitter and let us know your pick!

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