Chiefs-Lions predictions from national NFL experts
And away we go …
The 2023 season opens Thursday with the Chiefs raising their Super Bowl LVII banner and then facing the Detroit Lions, who finished strong in 2022 before making some big free-agent signings.
Detroit wasn’t the only team to end last season with a flourish. The Chiefs won their final eight games, including the Super Bowl.
Which team will be the first to win this season? Here is who 65 national experts are predicting will win the game, which kicks off at 7:22 p.m.on Thursday and will air on NBC (KSHB-TV Ch. 41 in KC).
All eight writers at CBS Sports see the Chiefs winning: Pete Prisco, Will Brinson, Jared Dubin, Ryan Wilson, John Breech, Tyler Sullivan, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg. Prisco predicted a 33-23 score. Here is part of what he wrote: “The defending-champion Chiefs have some new players, but Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are still around. That’s why they are the favorites again. Even if Travis Kelce isn’t playing and Chris Jones is still sitting, look for Mahomes to carry the Chiefs as the Lions find out the preseason expectations are a bit over the top.”
A 31-24 Chiefs victory is the prediction from the Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer. This is a snippet from his story: “The Lions’ defense is improved but not ready to slow down Mahomes and the champions out of the gate. Mahomes manufactures more pop around him in the passing game than (Rams QB Jared) Goff to make the difference.”
KC will win 36-29, says Bill Bender of the Sporting News. Here is part of what he wrote: “The Lions have over-the-top hype – and it’s OK to be cautious knowing the franchise has one playoff victory since 1991. This is a good team, however, and they were 8-3 ATS as an underdog last season. Jared Goff, however, was not nearly as good on the road (87.4 rating in 2022).”
The Lions will prevail 38-35, writes Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free-Press. Here is an excerpt of his column: “Yes, I know the Chiefs have an awesome, creative, potent offense. They ranked first in the NFL last season in points, yards per play and net passing yards per game. The Chiefs have scored 30 or more points in an NFL-record seven straight season-openers. But the Lions can hang with them. The Lions ranked fourth in yards and fifth in yards per play and points.”
The Chiefs will win says the New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman. Here is a snippet of his story: “The defending Super Bowl champion, Kansas City is rightly the favorite at home, but with a tendency to start the season slow and then race to wins, the team may not want to mess around with the Lions. Detroit’s offense, led by quarterback Jared Goff, was a top-five unit last season and running back David Montgomery, a newcomer from the Bears, should make the team even more potent.“
A 27-24 Chiefs win is the prediction from the Arizona Republic’s Jeremy Cluff. Here is what he wrote: “The Lions could be a darkhorse in the NFC this season, but the Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions. Expect a high-scoring game, with Patrick Mahomes making a big play late to give Kansas City the win.”
Taking the Chiefs to win are the four USA Today writers: Lorenzo Reyes (27-23 final score), Tyler Dragon (26-18), Victoria Hernandez (30-14) and Jordan Mendoza (31-21). Hernandez wrote: “The Chiefs are at home starting their campaign to defend their Super Bowl title. With or without Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes will still have the offense roaring louder than the Lions.”
The Chiefs will win 27-21, writes Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. He wrote: “The Lions have played their way onto this stage, so this is a landmark moment for this franchise. Patrick Mahomes will be too much for this secondary, however. Should be close.”
The Chiefs are the pick for six of the seven Bleacher Report writers: Brad Gagnon, Gary Davenport, Maurice Moton, Wes O’Donnell, Dawson Knox and Ian Hanford. Picking Detroit: Brent Sobleski. Davenport wrote: “Before the Kelce news broke, I was on the Chiefs. The fact that the line moved all of 1.5 points after said news speaks to Vegas’ confidence in the Chiefs. And Kansas City will still win this game straight up, because Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead. But with Kelce iffy to play at best, the Chiefs are down their top offensive weapon and their best defensive player in holdout tackle Chris Jones.”
The Chiefs were the pick for 10 of 12 writers at the Athletic: Chad Graff, Larry Holder, Tashan Reed, Michael-Shawn Dugar, Ben Standig, Zack Rosenblatt, Josh Kendall, Zack Keefer, Austin Mock and Mark Kaboly. Taking the Lions: Nick Kosmider and Zac Jackson. Marc Ross wrote: “The Chiefs may be the reigning champs, but arguably no team enters this season with more hype than the Lions. Fresh off of the first winning season since 2017, coach Dan Campbell has even loftier goals in 2023 – the franchise’s first division title since 1993 and first playoff victory since 1991. The offense could be on par with Kansas City’s, especially if quarterback Jared Goff can build off of last season’s Pro Bowl campaign when he threw for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.”
Six of seven experts at Sports Illustrated went with the Chiefs: Albert Breer, Gilberto Manzano, Matt Verderame, John Pluym, Mitch Goldich and Claire Kuwana. The lone pick for Detroit: Conor Orr.
The 10 members of the Dallas Morning-News picked the Chiefs: Tim Cowlishaw, Michael Gehlken, Craig Miller, Newy Scruggs, Joey Hayden, Calvin Watkins, Dana Larson, Damon Marx, David Moore and Kevin Sherrington.
The six experts at ESPN all have the Chiefs winning: Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Dan Graziano, Moses Moody, Lindsey Thiry and Seth Wickersham.
The Chiefs are the pick for all five NFL.com writers: Ali Bhanpuri (28-24 final score), Tom Blair (27-24), Brooke Cersosimo (26-20), Gennaro Filice (24-20) and Dan Parr (27-23). This is an excerpt of what Filice wrote: “Dan Campbell’s budding bunch has realistic hopes of exorcizing a posse of demons over the next five months — first playoff appearance since 2016, first division title since 1993, first postseason win since 1991 — but I still can’t bring myself to projecting a season-opening win over the Patrick Mahomes-led reigning champs in Arrowhead Stadium.”
This story was initially printed September 7, 2023, 9:42 AM.