The initial look at this game seems like it leaves a pretty clear favorite. The Chiefs have the best quarterback in the league currently, and he is sitting behind a really good offensive line. However, there are two (possible) notable absences from Kansas City’s side.
The first has been well documented all offseason. Defensive lineman Chris Jones wants the Chiefs to pay him like one of the best interior rushers in the NFL, which is hard to argue against. That defense has some good players, but having that consistent disruptive force in the middle makes everyone’s job easier. That stalemate doesn’t look like it will come to an end anytime soon.
The other is the possible absence of tight end Travis Kelce after hyperextending his knee during practice Tuesday. Kelce is Mahomes' favorite target, and he has been one of the best pass catchers (tight end or wide receiver) in the NFL for a while now. Last year, the absence of Tyreek Hill was never really felt, but taking away Kelce as well is big enough of a loss to wonder how this offense will perform.
The Lions are no slouches. Under head coach Dan Campbell, the Lions went 9-8 last season despite not having big household names to fall back on. Quarterback Jared Goff underwent a bit of a resurgence within an offense that relied on the running game.
This will be the first chance to see rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who Detroit surprisingly took early in the 2023 NFL Draft. He seems to be the new face of that running game, and this could be us seeing him unveiled as the new face of this franchise.
Here is who our staff of writers picked for Thursday Night Football.