Who is Playing Thursday Night Football?

Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The 2023 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night during a special presentation of NBC's Sunday Night Football featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. The game is a clash of the defending Super Bowl champions and a team with real expectations for the first time in what feels like forever.

The Detroit Lions come into the year following a 9-8 season where they had one of the best offenses in the NFL and very nearly made the playoffs. With a slightly better defense, just as many points and a few more bitten kneecaps, the Lions hope to make the postseason for the first time since 2016. With a bit of luck, they could even win their first playoff game since January 1992, which is their only playoff victory since they won the 1957 NFL Championship. To put that in perspective, Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor hadn't even started kindergarten the last time the Lions won a title.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have more postseason success in the last nine months than the Lions have had in the last 65 years. It just doesn't seem fair, but that's what happens when you let Andy Reid draft Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs have won two Super Bowls and made five AFC Championship Games since Mahomes took over. This year their defense might be without Chris Jones for part, most or all of the season, which will make it harder to do it all again, but it certainly seems as likely as the Lions being good.

Kickoff is 8:20pm Eastern on Thursday night on NBC. Mike Tirico will be on the call with Cris Collinsworth and Melissa Stark. Those three will then turn around and do the first real Sunday Night Football game of the season three nights later.