James Mason picks out his best bets for the 2023 NFL season opener as the Lions travel face the reigning champions in Kansas City.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been the dominant force in the NFL in recent years, racking up five consecutive trips to the AFC Championship game and also winning the Super Bowl in two of the last three seasons.
They get the 2023 campaign off to a bang against an improving Detroit Lions in what should be an intriguing clash at the Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs to pick up where they left off
Kansas City took home the Super Bowl in dramatic fashion last season, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 and they should be able to pick up where they left off against Detroit.
An injury to key man Travis Kelce has led to some negativity around the Chiefs’ chances, but they have a plethora of weapons that they can turn to and in the shape of Patrick Mahomes, they have one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.
The Lions allowed 392.4 yards last season, the most in the NFL, and that looks to be a serious issue against a player as good as Mahomes.
The Chiefs had the most passing yards in the league last season, averaging 413.6, and that could be the deciding factor here despite the Lions’ signings in the secondary.
Take Kansas City to start the season in perfect fashion and cover a 9.5 point handicap.
Montgomery to have a day
Jahmyr Gibbs, the 12th overall pick, is set to fight it out with veteran David Montgomery to be Kansas City’s number one running back but the latter is likely to be handed the majority of the carries in this game.
Kansas defensive tackle Chris Jones is in the middle of a contract dispute and is unlikely to feature, weakening the Chiefs’ run defence.
Montgomery had 801 yards rushing last season and can go over the total of 52.5 rushing yards in this matchup.
Mahomes may do it himself
Even with reports of Kelce’s knee injury not being as serious as first feared, it seems unlikely that he will be risked with anything too strenuous in the first game of the season if he does have an issue.
Given Kelce is often Mahomes’ go-to option in the red zone, expect some more unlikely sources for a touchdown in this one.
Mahomes himself rushed for four touchdowns last season, a career-high, and looks good value to register another in this matchup.
Without Kelce, the gunslinger may take the responsibility for getting his side over the line on himself and is fancied to score a touchdown.