Detroit Lions @ Kansas City Chiefs
The season officially kicks off with the Detroit Lions traveling to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. A few years ago, this would have been a slam dunk win for the Chiefs, with nobody even thinking twice about it. However, we all should remember the last time that Jared Goff had a shot at Patrick Mahomes. Now, this Lions team has more fight in them than ever before and could give the reigning champs some trouble. In the end though, Kansas City should still pull this one out.

Tennessee Titans @ New Orleans Saints
The Tennessee Titans didn’t do a whole lot to give their fanbase confidence heading into the season. Instead of heading down the rebuilding path with yet another rookie quarterback drafted, they signed veteran Deandre Hopkins, signaling that they expect to compete. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints inked Derek Carr to go along with an offense full of weapons and a defense that should once again be inside the top 10. The Saints have immense potential, but we’ve known teams to miss those marks before. Still, the Titans are a team that doesn’t have much of a direction, and who knows who will start under center for them.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
Unfortunately, the Tom Brady era is over in Tampa Bay. They will absolutely feel the effects of it down there. Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback, and center Ryan Jensen will miss another season with a knee injury. This team has skill position talent, but it takes more than that to win. Minnesota cut ties with Dalvin Cook, but they have faith in Alexander Mattison. Plus, their offense won’t hurt in the passing game with Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, and first-round draft pick Jordan Addison. Minnesota is definitely the better team here.

Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Commanders
Everybody is fully expecting the Arizona Cardinals to be the worst team in football this season. It’s hard to argue against that. Kyler Murray might not be ready until halfway through the year, and they lost Deandre Hopkins amongst other talent. This is a team that looks to head into a full rebuild, while the Commanders could finally have some life in them. Sam Howell looks like he’s going to be a solid quarterback for them, and new ownership taking over has the fans and players alike feeling great ahead of the new year. Winning at home against the Cardinals should be a great start to their season.

San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
What a brutal matchup for both of these teams in the opener. The San Francisco 49ers will be starting Brock Purdy at quarterback after he won the job, but they might not have Nick Bosa. Bosa is still holding out for a new contract and hasn’t been in training camp. His absence opens the door for Pittsburgh to sneak in. Kenny Pickett looks like the real deal after his preseason performances, George Pickens is an athletic freak, and this defense could rival San Francisco for the best unit in the NFL in 2023. Expect a very low scoring matchup but give me the 49ers if they can find a way to get Bosa back onto the field.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
The first of many division rivalry games that will be taking place this week. The Cincinnati Bengals are growing increasingly confident that Joe Burrow will be healthy enough to hit the field in this matchup. When he’s out there, this Bengals squad looks Super Bowl bound. Without him, they look like they will miss the postseason. Meanwhile, the Browns finally got a full offseason with Deshaun Watson under center. If Watson turns into the player that we knew from the Houston Texans, this team could be a sneaky playoff contender down the line. Division games are always confusing, but Burrow is the difference maker.

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
Two of the younger teams in the league will battle it out here with the Carolina Panthers traveling to take on the Atlanta Falcons. Bryce Young offers more confidence under center than Desmond Ridder, but the Panthers offensive line did not hold up during the preseason. The Falcons on the other hand have a plethora of running backs that they can lean on instead of having to air it out consistently. This will be an interesting matchup, but I’ll give the Falcons the edge due to the splurging they did in free agency on the defensive side of the football.

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens
This is a poor first matchup for rookie quarterback CJ Stroud. Stroud has a lot of potential in this league, but the Baltimore Ravens defense isn’t the unit that you want to meet first. Baltimore has a great pass rush, an elite cornerback, and an elite linebacker. They’ll make life very difficult for Stroud and the young Texans. Not to mention that Lamar Jackson and his new receiver core should be able to find the end zone a few times against the Texans young defense. Give me Baltimore here.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
Sparks will fly when Trevor Lawrence takes on Anthony Richardson and the Indianapolis Colts. Richardson is one of the most unique quarterback prospects that we’ve seen in a long time, and Lawrence proved last year that he can be a franchise savior for the Jaguars. While Richardson might be the future, Lawrence is the present. He and the Jaguars are much better than a Colts team that won’t have Jonathan Taylor on the field in the first four weeks.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
It’s tempting to think that the Chicago Bears will finally flip the script on the Green Bay Packers after getting tormented by them for years thanks to Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers off to the New York Jets, the Packers are in uncharted territory with Jordan Love starting under center. Love will have his hands full against a Bears team with a plethora of weapons surrounding the electric Justin Fields. Excitement wise, Fields and the Bears should be able to get the win at home. Then again, both of these quarterbacks still feel like a question mark.

Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots
It’s not really fair to anybody going up against the Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener, but that’s the reality for the New England Patriots. The Eagles have the most talented roster in football at the moment, with literally everything that you could ask for. The same can’t be said for the Patriots, as their offense severely struggled in 2022 while their defense lost a few key pieces in the offseason. New England found a way to recoup some defensive talent, but the change doesn’t feel like it can keep them competitive with Philadelphia.

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
The Los Angeles Rams always seem to have the Seattle Seahawks number, but there’s a big talent differential here. The Rams have Matt Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Coooper Kupp. That’s pretty much it. The rest of this Rams team is incredibly young and inexperienced. The Seahawks on the other hand have three great weapons out wide, a variety of strong running backs, and a defense that continues to build. I’d roll with the Seahawks at home, because the Rams shouldn’t be able to keep up with them given their unknowns across the roster.

Miami Dolphins @ Los Angeles Chargers
This might be the most intriguing matchup of the week. The Miami Dolphins are coming into this with one of the fastest offenses in the league. We’re talking about guys like Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. They even attempted to bring in Jonathan Taylor a few days ago. Then, the Los Angeles Chargers have their own weapons in Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and first round draft pick Quentin Johnston. There should be a whole lot of points scored between these two teams, but I like the Dolphins offense a little bit more. The Chargers might need some time to adjust under new play caller Kellen Moore.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Denver Broncos
The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t exactly do much to improve from last season to this one. They swapped Derek Carr for Jimmy Garoppolo, and that was really their premier move. Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs are still around, and Maxx Crosby will be as good as ever. Though this isn’t exactly a playoff contending team. For the Denver Broncos, they have a future Hall of Fame coach in Sean Payton joining the ranks to hopefully save Russell Wilson’s career in Denver. Both teams are intriguing ahead of this season, though division games always seem to throw people off. Due to that, I’ll give the Raiders an underdog shot to win this game against Denver.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
The Dallas Cowboys look exactly the same as they have in the past few years. Dak Prescott is returning under center, CeeDee Lamb at his top target, and Trevon Diggs as the lead corner. There’s nothing uniquely different about this Cowboys group that we haven’t seen before. However, this is a much different New York Giants team. They traded for Darren Waller and drafted Jaylin Hyatt, which means that Daniel Jones finally gets two big weapons to throw the football too. Saquon Barkley also remained on the roster and showed up to training camp under a new deal. Dallas might be the better team, but there’s just a new glow for the Giants right now.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
The Buffalo Bills are shockingly under the radar at the moment. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs should continue being one of the best duos in the NFL. Their defense might take a small step back, but the offense is so good that it might not matter that much. This is a tough matchup though, as the New York Jets are completely different. Aaron Rodgers has joined the roster, giving them the best quarterback play that they’ve had in the past decade. The Jeets also inked Dalvin Cook, Allen Lazard, and Randall Cobb to make this a brand-new offense. The Jets might have more hype rolling into this, although we can’t forget how talented the Bills are. The popular pick will be the Jets, but let’s wait until they prove it first on the big stage and give the edge to Buffalo.

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