Chiefs vs. Lions Is the Perfect NFL Season Opener

The Chiefs take on the Lions in the 2023 NFL season opener. This is a perfect matchup to give fans what they want, while setting them up for more.

“Chicks dig the long ball” is one of the uniquely American colloquial phrases that perfectly encapsulates what we love about sports. Explosive moments. Excitement. That phrase describes baseball’s home run. Instant points. In football, that phrase would be related more to the deep pass or long gains that lead to touchdowns. Simply put, football fans want points, and the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Detroit Lions as the NFL season opener will deliver.

“Open with a bang” is another colloquial phrase that perfectly describes this matchup. The NFL needs to hook fans immediately. Truthfully, fans would watch the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns. But they’ll both watch and talk about the Chiefs vs. the Lions. That right there is the key to the strategy. Keep the people talking. Kansas City taking on Detroit at Arrowhead will be just what the doctor ordered.

Chiefs vs. Lions Is a Perfect Opener

The Chiefs are box office. No other team in football has multiple matchups that are absolutely must-see TV for NFL fans as a whole. Whether it’s the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, or the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City is always involved in the best NFL matchups.

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But the question here isn’t whether the Chiefs make this a compelling matchup. They do. The question is, can the Lions keep up in the NFL season opener? The answer is yes, and the reason is simple: points.

Yes, the Lions Score Points

We don’t immediately attribute the Lions to success. But last year was a major step forward for the Dan Campbell regime in bringing Detroit to respectability. We think of Campbell as a hard-nosed, man’s man, and associate that with tough defense and grind-it-out football.

But that’s not the Lions’ offensive identity. Detroit is explosive and promises to continue that trend along their schedule in 2023.

Jared Goff finished sixth last year in passing yards with nearly 4,500. Yes, that Jared Goff. He was also sixth in passing touchdowns as well. Of the five quarterbacks who finished in front of him, Goff had nearly half the interceptions of anyone else.

In what is becoming a theme, he also finished sixth in the NFL in passing plays over 20 yards. This is not just dinking and dunking.

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How about 40+ yard passing plays? No, Goff didn’t finish sixth. He finished tied for second, one behind Patrick Mahomes. He also finished top 10 in yards per attempt.

In 2022, it was the Lions’ rushing game that really was missing. In the 2023 NFL Draft, Detroit drafted Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round, securing what many believe to be the 1B to Bijan Robinson’s 1A.

Bottom line is, Detroit can play offense. While the yards are obviously fantastic, how has that translated into points? Well, only one team whose starter played the full season scored above one full point per minute of possession time, and that was Detroit.

Their scoring behavior rate (1.007 points per minute of possession time) was tops in the league of any team who had one starting quarterback the full season. All the Lions have done since then is add to their arsenal. And as a result, they’re more than ready to help the Chiefs give the fans what they’re looking for in this NFL season opener.

The Chiefs Will Hold Up Their End of the Deal

Everything listed above that Goff was sixth in, Mahomes was first. There’s a reason he’s the reigning MVP and Super Bowl MVP, and his team is the defending champions. This team is downright box office.

As mentioned, half of Kansas City’s schedule is must-see TV, and the rest we’ll pay attention to solely for them. The Chiefs in 2022 were third in scoring behavior rate, coming in at just under .95 points per minute of possession time — behind only Detroit and Minnesota. Half of KC’s games were above one full point per minute on average.

The Chiefs were also extremely consistent, having only a 1% overall deviation from Week 1 through Week 18 in SBR. That is tied with the Patriots for the smallest in the league. The difference being, of course, the number of points being scored.

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Kansas City scored nearly 500 points in 2022. Their 496 points were three touchdowns better than any other team in football. The Lions were fifth. In fact, the Chiefs will face every team in the top five at one point or another in 2023.

The goal of the NFL is to give the fans a taste of what’s to come. Give them points galore in Week 1 and leave them wanting, nay, expecting more. Then deliver.

Chiefs vs. Lions will more than accomplish that goal.

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