With the 2023-24 NFL season getting closer and closer, the hype is increasing. The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the 2023 season at home against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 7th. This is the first time in 20 years that the Lions are playing back in Kansas City.
The season will begin on Thursday Night Football and there is plenty of stuff happening that night. This is the official first game for the entire league and what better way to kick it off than with the defending champs at home. That being said, here is what to expect for the opening night of the 2023 NFL season in Arrowhead.
Banner Raising Ceremony
Besides the playing of football, the most important event of the evening will be the banner ceremony. The Chiefs are planning to raise their Super Bowl LVII banner to officially close the book on the 2022-23 season and mark their victory over the Eagles. This will be the Chiefs first opportunity to open their season with a full crowd after a Super Bowl victory. After the Chiefs 2019 Super Bowl victory, COVID ruined any chance of a full crowd season opener by the time the next season kicked off.
Chiefs Offseason Additions Debuting
The Chiefs lost plenty in the offseason but that is old news. It is also old news of who the Chiefs acquired to replace some of those losses. Guys like Juwaan Taylor on the offensive line and Charles Omenihu at defensive end, are two solid pieces. Getting to see a new and improved roster is one of the most exciting parts of a new season, especially when you’re the defending champs.
Kansas City is also returning big names like Jerick McKinnon who was one of the most productive players on the roster last season. KC is also getting wide receiver help in returning player Justin Watson who spent last season injured. Finally, they also added wide receiver Richie James in free agency after a breakout year for the Giants in 2022 in which he saw career-bests in receptions (57), receiving yards (569) and receiving touchdowns (four).
<img decoding="async" width="400" height="400" src="https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=400%2C400&ssl=1" alt="" class="wp-image-24342 lazyload" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?w=400&ssl=1 400w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=300%2C300&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=100%2C100&ssl=1 100w" sizes="(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Rare Matchup Versus Hungry Lions
Of course we should also highlight the matchup for the Chiefs in week one and that is the Lions. As I said before, this is the first time in 20 years that the Lions will be back in Arrowhead to play KC. This is the first time since the “Kickoff Game” was created in 2002 that the Lions have been chosen to begin the NFL season.
The Lions won eight of their final ten games in 2022 to finish at 9-8 and post their first winning record since 2017. While Detroit might not be the defending champs, they are still a hungry team that could give the Chiefs some trouble for a half or so. The Chiefs lead the all-time series 9-5 and won their last matchup in 2019 by a score of 34-30. KC also won the last matchup at home against Detroit by a score of 45-17 back in 2003.
However, the Chiefs getting to defending their title on their home turf to kick off the season, is a bad place to be for the Lions. Kansas City is set to be title favorites yet again and this matchup against the Lions is just the first step.
With the Chiefs being the reigning champions, it was expected that KC would get to host in week one. While Detroit is no push over, I do not see this game being a bad result for KC. In the 2022 Kickoff Game, the defending champion Rams got throttled by the Buffalo Bills 31-10. I do not see the Chiefs getting beaten like that in Arrowhead by the Lions but rather KC destroying the Lions in that fashion.
This will be a fun night for Chiefs fans to finally pack a stadium for a banner ceremony and celebrate appropriately. The defending champs begin their campaign for their next title at home and that is the best way to do it.