Chiefs vs Lions: Detroit is ready to make statement at Arrowhead

We asked Lions editor Brad Berreman of Sidelion Report to answer a few questions abotu this Week 1 showdown.
Dec 24, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) celebrates
Dec 24, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) celebrates / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are ready to make the leap. Their head coach has everyone believing in the Motor City. The team went on a hot streak to end the last season. They have a deeper roster than they've had in many, many years. After earning a winning record a year ago for the first time in several seasons, the Lions have higher hopes in 2023.

The journey, however, starts against the defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL season kicks off on Thursday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium, and it's a safe bet that Chiefs Kingdom will be loud and proud on banner night. That said, they're dealing with significant losses that could include the best players on the team not named Patrick Mahomes and that could be tough to stomach.

Just how good can these Lions be? What are their realistic hopes for this season? And is Jared Goff the man to lead them? We asked Lions editor Brad Berreman of SideLion Report to answer a few questions about this Week 1 showdown.

After such a turnaround last year, it makes sense to dream bigger. But is this roster ready to win double-digit games in 2023?

After winning eight of their last 10 games last year to get to above .500, 10 wins feels like an easy expectation. The defense, especially the run defense, will be a concern until it shows it’s not. A schedule that’s in the top half easiest in the league—per ESPN, and I think others—puts double-digit wins in play.

A better start than they’ve had in Dan Campbell’s first two years is, of course, mandatory—win or lose to the Chiefs. Overall, meeting expectations as the favorites to win the NFC North automatically means at least 10 wins.

The Lions look so much more talented across the board than, say, a couple of years ago, but do you believe Jared Goff is the man to take these Lions to where they can go?

I’m lower on Goff than a large segment of Lions fans. I see a physically limited quarterback who struggles when pressured and needs everything pristine around him along with a play-caller operating at their peak—Sean McVay, now Ben Johnson. He’s coming off one of the best seasons of his career, and there’s clear pressure to repeat it or at least come close. I don’t see Goff taking the Lions to a Super Bowl, but the next step—a playoff spot, a playoff win? Sure.

What are most people overlooking when it comes to the Lions' offseason?

I feel like running back David Montgomery should be getting more attention. There’s all kinds of buzz around Jahmyr Gibbs, but Montgomery is a talent upgrade over Jamaal Williams and seems to be a seamless “culture” fit too.

With the Chiefs hurting so much on the defensive interior, what do you expect to see Thursday from the Lions offense?

The Lions will surely try to establish the ground game anyway, to keep the Chiefs offense off the field, but if Chris Jones is out it will be easier. Keeping Jared Goff clean will also of course be far easier if Jones is absent.

Let's hear your prediction for Thursday Night Football.

Chiefs 34, Lions 28 is my prediction. The Lions are game but don’t quite pull off the upset. From the betting side, I think the Lions cover and the over cashes comfortably.