NFL Opening Week Preview

September 7, 2023 by Staff

The NFL season gets underway tonight when defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City hosts Detroit. The Chiefs are looking to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl winners since the New England Patriots at the end of the '03 and '04 seasons.

Patrick Mahomes was named the No. 1 over-all player in the NFL Network's Top 100 list for 2023.Two more Chiefs made the top 10 with tight end Travis Kelce at No. 5 and defensive tackle Chris Jones at No. 10. No other Kansas City players were represented one rest of that list.

Pro Football Focus issued a top 50 list which also placed Mahomes at the top with Kelce at No. 4 and Jones at No. 7. That list also had center Creed Humphrey at No. 33

By contrast, four Detroit Lions landed on the NFL Network list, but none higher then QB Jared Goff at No. 66. The others were wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown at No. 67, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson at No. 88, and running back Jamaal Williams at No. 95.

The NFL week 1 odds at have Kansas City as a 4.5-point favorite over the team that is the betting favorite to win the NFC North. Kelce suffered a knee injury in practice earlier this week and was officially listed as questionable for tonight's game on today's injury report.

Here is a comparative look at some other games on this week's schedule:

San Francisco (-2.5) at Pittsburgh

The NFC West favorite visits the projected last-place team in the AFC North. More 49ers made the NFL Top 100 list than any other team with a hefty group of 8 players, led by 4th-ranked Nick Bosa who just became the highest paid defensive player in history. According to, the deal for Nick Bosa is for 5 years at $170 million that includes a $50 million signing bonus, a $122.5 million guarantee and an average annual salary of $34 million.

Other 'Niners on the list include offensive tackle Trent Williams at No. 14, middle linebacker Fred Warner at No. 15, tight end George Kittle at No. 19, running back Christian McCaffrey at No. 35.

The PFF list puts Williams at No. 3, ahead of Bosa at No. 6. Warner is 14th, Kittle 39th, McCaffrey 44th and WR Deebo Samuel is No. 50. Samuel was No. 61 on the NFL Network rankings.

Pittsburgh has free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 18, linebacker TJ Wall 27th and defensive tackle Cameron Heyward 45th on the NFL list, while the PFF has Watt 13th, Fitzpatrick 43rd and Heyward 47th.

A better Pittsburgh outlook for 2023 will require much better production out of Kirby Pickett after he got thrown into the fire a year ago and ranked 25th in passing yards with more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (7).

Carolina at Atlanta (-3.5)

We will get our first NFL look at Bryce Young, the first Crimson Tide player to be selected No. 1 overall in the common era of the NFL Draft (1967). The Alabama QB was the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner. Interestingly, only 10 Heisman winners have ever won a Super Bowl. Roger Staubach (Cowboys, 1972 and 1978) and Jim Plunkett (Raiders, 1980 and 1983) are the only players to win a pair of Super Bowls.

The Falcons are 2nd and Panthers 3rd in betting odds to win the AFC South, trailing the New Orleans Saints and ahead of the Tampa Bay Bucs.

No Falcons or Panthers made the top 50 of either list.

Buffalo (-2.5) at NY Jets (Monday Night)

These are the top two betting favorites to win the AFC East. Buffalo was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Cincinnati in last year's playoffs and looks to go all the way in 2023.

The Jets have not reached the postseason since 2010, giving the longest active playoff drought at 12 seasons. They hope that having Aaron Rodgers at quarterback will change all of that. His 4 MVP Awards are the second most in the history of the NFL, trailing only Peyton Manning with 5.

Nonetheless, Rodgers only ranks 45th on the PFF Top 50 list of players in 2023 while the NFL Network put him at No. 51.

The Bills only landed two athletes on either list of 2023's Top Players. The NFL list put QB Josh Allen at No. 8 and receiver Stefon Diggs at No.16, while the PFF rankings have Allen 12th and Diggs 24th.

Dallas (-3.5) at NY Giants (Sunday Night)

Fortunately for the Giants, Saquon Barkley signed his $10 million franchise tag deal and will look to ball-out and avoid injury to get his money later. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft was hoping to get a better contract before last season. When he didn't, he turned in a career-best 1,312 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns while he also tied for the team lead with 57 catches.

Even with Barkley, the Giants have the 3rd-worst odds at winning the AFC East, behind Philadelphia and Dallas.

Other Games, Odds

Houston at Baltimore (-10)
Cincinnati (-2.5) at Cleveland
Tampa Bay at Minnesota (-6)
Arizona at Washington (-7)
Tennessee at New Orleans (-3)
Jacksonville (-4.5) at Indianapolis
Philadelphia (-4) at New England
Las Vegas at Denver (-4)
LA Rams at Seattle (-5.5)
Green Bay at Chicago (-1.5)
Miami at LA Chargers (-3)