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Reigning Super Bowl Champs Defend Arrowhead From Rising Lions

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

The year kicks off with the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, taking on seemingly everyone’s favorite underdog. Dan Campbell will bring his Lions to Arrowhead to bite off some kneecaps.


Detroit Lions @ Kansas City Chiefs


Detroit’s Offense vs Kansas City’s Defense

Detroit’s offense performed very well last season scoring 26.6 Points Per Game (PPG), and have added some major weapons this off-season. New Running Backs Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery will be running behind the third-best offensive line in the NFL heading into 2023 per Pro Football Network.


The Chiefs held up well against the run last year only allowing 107.7 rushing yards per game, but that number is aided by the Chief’s constantly being in positive game scripts. They faced the fourth-fewest rushing attempts per game since their opponents are constantly trying to catch up to Kansas City’s potent offense.


The Lions’ recipe for getting a win in week one is holding the Chiefs’ offense off early and controlling the game in the trenches. The Lions have a good passing offense, but with Jameson Williams suspended for the first six games of the season and sub-standard receivers after Amon-Ra St. Brown, they will not be able to keep up with the Chiefs’ passing attack.

The Lions made solid improvements to their secondary this off-season as well, adding four new starters. Cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley and Cameron Sutton will start as the Lions’ outside cornerbacks. Both received top 45 coverage grades by PFF, ranking 30th and 45th respectively.


They also added Safetys C.J. Garnder-Johnson in Free Agency and Brian Branch in the NFL Draft. The Lions are currently ranked as the 19th secondary in the NFL according to Lineups.com. They gave up the third most passing yards last season so these pieces should help the Lions creep back towards the middle of the pack.


Defenses take time to gel though and I don’t see these new pieces being enough to overcome Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.


Kansas City’s Offense vs Detroit’s Defense

The Chiefs dismantled the league through the air despite having a lackluster Wide Receiver core last year and look to do it again. They had the most passing yards per game in the league last season with 288.9 yards per game and did it without an alpha WR on the roster.


They made some additions to their Wide Receiver core adding Richie James from the Giants and Rashee Rice in the Draft with their second-round pick, however, they lost WR JuJu Smith-Schuester and Mecole Hardman in Free Agency. Entering the season, Kansas City will again lean on Travis Kelce as their primary target in this offense and look for the ancillary pieces to perform well in the roles they are assigned.

Kadarius Toney could be poised for a larger role on this team and if he stays healthy could have a true breakout season. Far too often players are compared to Tyreek Hill when they show elite speed and agility. There is no Tyreek Hill replica on this planet, but if you were looking for the next best thing, it is Kadarius Toney.


We all know how incredible of a talent Patrick Mahomes is but the Chiefs have a formidable running game as well. With breakout rookie Isiah Pacheco leading the pack, they can beat you in multiple ways. Detroit performed poorly against the run last season allowing 146.5 yards per game, the fourth worst in the NFL.


Summary


I believe this game will come down to a very experienced Quarterback knowing how to pick apart a newly assembled secondary. The Lions gave up the most total yards per game in the league last year and the Chiefs have multiple ways to move the ball down the field. Detroit is a scrappy team and will put up a fight, but look for Kansas City to take care of business in the first game of the season.

I’m taking the Chiefs to win this game in a high-scoring shootout and the Lions to cover the seven-point spread in a hard-fought, high-scoring game.

Final Score: 34 – 30


All based on a per game basis

Lions’ Key Free Agency Additions:

Running Back: David Montgomery

Safety: C.J. Garnder-Johnson

Cornerback: Cameron Sutton

Cornerback: Emmanuel Moseley

Lions’ Key Draft Picks:

Running Back: Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama) – Pick 12

Linebacker: Jack Campbell (Iowa) – Pick 18

Tight End: Sam LaPorta (Iowa) – Pick 34

Safety: Brian Branch (Alabama) – Pick 45

Quarterback: Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) – Pick 68

Defensive Tackle: Brodrick Martin (Western Kentucky) – Pick 96

Lions’ Losses:

Wide Receiver: D.J. Chark

Running Back: Jamaal Williams

Chiefs’ Key Free Agency Additions:

Offensive Tacke: Jawaan Taylor

Edge Rusher: Charles Omenihu

Chiefs’ Key Draft Picks:

Edge Rusher: Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State) – Pick 31

Wide Receiver: Rashee Rice (SMU) – Pick 55

Offensive Tackle: Wanya Morris (Oklahoma) – Pick 92

Chiefs’ Losses:

Offensive Tackle: Orlando Brown Jr.

Offensive Tackle: Andrew Wylie

Safety: Juan Thornhill

Wide Receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuester

Wide Receiver: Mecole Hardman

 

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