KC Chiefs vs. Detroit Lions preview: A complete breakdown of Week 1

Previewing the NFL's opening night game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions.

Jan 8, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the game
Jan 8, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the game / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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Chiefs Offense versus the Lions Defense

The Chiefs have ranked in the Top 5 in scoring offense and/or total offense every year in the Patrick Mahomes era. The Lions have been in the Bottom 5 in points allowed and/or yards allowed each of the past four seasons.

On paper, the advantage lies with Kansas City. There are few teams that can match up defensively against the Chiefs. They have star players like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, head coach Andy Reid, and a strong offensive line.

The problem for Kansas City is that Kelce might not be able to play tonight. There is some hope that he'll suit up since it's reportedly a bone bruise, but nothing is known yet. If he is inactive, then there will be pressure on young receivers, such as Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney. The Chiefs will also rely upon veterans Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Noah Gray to step up.

The Chiefs should also use their offensive line to their advantage by running the football more. Their offensive line is one of their most talented units and will never be overmatched.

While the Lions had a bad defense last season, there were some bright spots in their pass rush. Aidan Hutchinson racked up an impressive 9.5 sacks as a rookie. Fellow rookie James Houston recorded 8 sacks in the final 7 games of the season. Charles Harris, a Kansas City native and Mizzou alumnus, also had a strong 2021 season before an injury sidelined him in 2022.

Despite Detroit's talented pass rush, Patrick Mahomes will likely not face significant pressure. The Chiefs boast a great offensive line, with Donovan Smith at left tackle being the only potential weak link. Unless Hutchinson goes off, the Lions' pass rush isn't likely to alter the course of the game.

The Lions' secondary struggled all last season. They traded former Top 3 pick Jeff Okudah to Atlanta after he failed to meet expectations. They also had many rookies playing significant snaps at safety and cornerback. Detroit signed defensive backs C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton, and Emmanuel Moseley in free agency. They also drafted safety Brian Branch in the second round. Second-year safety Kerby Joseph and third-year cornerback Jerry Jacobs are also both expected to take the next step.

Even with these improvements, the Chiefs still hold the upper hand in this matchup. If Kelce plays, the passing offense should remain a force to be reckoned with. Without Kelce, a group of talented wide receivers and Andy Reid's play-calling should create plenty of opportunities for Patrick Mahomes.

Linebacker is an intriguing position for the Lions. Malcolm Rodriguez was a standout rookie in 2022 and first-round pick Jack Campbell had an impressive preseason.

In the end, while Aaron Glenn is a solid defensive coordinator for the Lions, facing off against Andy Reid's offensive prowess is a big ask. Considering Detroit's defensive struggles last year, the Chiefs should score a lot tonight. If Kelce is unable to go, then the Chiefs may be in some trouble. But they still have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, which is what matters most in the end.