1 of 5 | Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Detroit Lions at 8:20 p.m. EDT Thursday on NBC. File Photo by Jon Robichaud/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will host the first of 16 NFL opening week matchups, welcoming the Detroit Lions to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
"This is why you play the game of football -- these high-pressure situations," Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson told reporters. "You are opening the season with the Super Bowl champs at their place. I wouldn't want anything else."
The Chiefs-Lions opener will kick off at 8:20 p.m. EDT on NBC. Mahomes' Chiefs are 4.5-point favorites, despite potentially missing two star players.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones remains away from the team amid a contract dispute. Fellow All-Pro Travis Kelce sustained a knee injury this week at practice. The tight end is a game-time decision.
The Chiefs had the league's top offense last season, carried by Mahomes and the passing game. They ranked 11th on defense and allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards en route to the AFC's best regular-season record (14-3).
The Lions, who went 3-13-1 in 2021, proved doubters wrong by going 9-8 in 2022. They had the NFL's No. 4 offense, but were a bit more balanced. The Lions passing game ranked eighth, while they rushed for the 11th-most yards.
The Lions had the worst defense in the NFL last season, allowing a league-high 6,670 yards. They allowed the third-most passing yards.
"It's obviously very exciting kicking off the season, with our first game and a home game," Chiefs offensive lineman Creed Humphrey said.
"There are a lot of distractions for this game. Our focus is just on the game. That's our sole focus is just preparing to go out there and play the way we play football."
Week 1 games for the 104th NFL season will continue with 14 Sunday matchups. Eight will start at 1 p.m. Five will kick off at 4:25 p.m. The New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys in the nightcap at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.
The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will meet in the Week 1 finale at 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN, ABC and ESPN2.
The Chiefs are favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII, which will be held Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. The Philadelphia Eagles, Bills, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals are among other Top 5 favorites.
The 49ers will meet the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. on Fox. The Bengals will battle the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Eagles will face the New England Patriots at 4:25 p.m. on the same network.
The Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins and Lions are among other expected contenders for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Ravens host the Houston Texans at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Chargers play the Dolphins at 4:25 p.m. on CBS.
Mahomes is the favorite to win NFL MVP honors, according to most sportsbooks. Quarterbacks Joe Burrow of the Bengals, Josh Allen of the Bills, Justin Herbert of the Chargers and Jalen Hurts of the Eagles are the other Top 5 favorites.
Pass rushers Micah Parsons of the Cowboys, Myles Garrett of the Browns, T.J. Watt of the Steelers, Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders and Nick Bosa of the 49ers are the top Defensive Player of the Year contenders.
Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson and Houston Texans pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. are favorites to win respective Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
The Minnesota Vikings, Washington Commanders, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Ravens, Falcons, Jaguars, Bengals, Eagles, Chargers, 49ers, Cowboys and Bills join the Chiefs as Week 1 favorites.
Week 1 schedule
All times EDT
Lions at Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. on NBC
Panthers at Falcons at 1 p.m. on Fox
Texans at Ravens at 1 p.m. on CBS
Bengals at Browns at 1 p.m. on CBS
Buccaneers at Vikings at 1 p.m. on CBS
Titans at Saints at 1 p.m. on CBS
49ers at Steelers at 1 p.m. on Fox
Jaguars at Colts at 1 p.m. on Fox
Cardinals at Commanders at 1 p.m. on Fox
Packers at Bears at 4:25 p.m. on Fox
Raiders at Broncos at 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Dolphins at Chargers at 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Eagles at Patriots at 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Rams at Seahawks at 4:25 p.m. on Fox
Cowboys at Giants at 8:20 p.m. on NBC
Bills at Jets at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2