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O'HARA'S WEEK 1 PREVIEW: To keep up excitement, Lions know they must deliver

Quarterback Jared Goff shares the excitement with fans for the start Thursday of the 2023 season against the mighty Kansas City Chiefs.

The Lions are the hot item on Detroit's sports landscape, and Goff and his teammates enjoy their team's elevated status. But Goff knows that it comes with a mandate.

"It's fun being here in a city with all this excitement," Goff said. "That being said, it doesn't mean anything if you don't win.

"I think we all know that. I know that. I've been on winning teams. I've been on losing teams. People will continue to be excited if we continue to win.

"Winning fixes everything, as they say."

Following are three things to consider for each team going into Thursday night's game:


Winning edge: They have it – seven straight AFC West titles, five straight trips to the AFC Championship and two Super Bowl championships in the last three years.

Patrick Mahomes: The NFL's best player. He can make any play at any time, often connecting with tight end Travis Kelce. It's a lethal combination.

Defense: Underrated. They can play fast and cover from sideline to sideline.


Offensive line: One of the NFL's top units. This will be the first time in three years that they have had the starting five on the field together.

Front four: Depth should result in more sacks and a better run defense. Look for Aidan Hutchinson to have a breakout second season.

8-2: That finish last season was not a fluke. This is a playoff team.

Lions keys

Offense: Play smart, and protect the ball. Take shots at getting big plays, but do not give Mahomes extra possessions with turnovers. Goff was great at protecting the ball during the Lions' 8-2 run at the end of last season. He had one interception in that run.

Defense: Tighten up. The first test of the defensive overhaul couldn't come against a tougher opponent. The Chiefs averaged a league-high 413.6 yards per game in 2022. The Lions allowed a league-high 392.4 per game. Upgrades in the secondary and an energized pass rush should make a difference on this defense.

Lions-Chiefs pick: The Chiefs are favored by 6.5 points, and for good reason. They are the class of the NFL. The Lions' 8-2 finish last season showed what they've become – a team on the rise that can compete with anyone. They'll compete with the Chiefs.

Chiefs 30, Lions 27. Who ya got?

NFC North prediction:

  1. Lions: 10-7. Defensive improvements lift them to the top.
  2. Packers: 9-8. Jordan Love takes over at QB with solid roster.
  3. Minnesota Vikings: 7-10. They used up their miracle finishes last year.
  4. Chicago Bears: 6-11. Twice as many wins as last year's 3-14 finish.

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