2023 NFL Week 1 Preview: Breaking down every game
September 7, 2023
Each week this NFL season we will have two different columns. First up we will have previews of every single game that should be out on Wednesday or Thursday for absolutely free! I will even throw some bonus free picks in there for Thursday games.
Then on Sunday’s we will have the expert tips that have done so well in recent seasons. You can subscribe to get all the best picks from our tipster. And even better, it is currently half price! You can find out more here: https://thesportingbase.com/product-category/subscriptions/nfl-subscriptions/
Detroit Lions @ Kansas City Chiefs
The season opens up with the defending champions, the Chiefs, opening up against the Detroit Lions. The big news in this one is Travis Kelce looks set to miss this game after hyperextending his knee in practice. It does not look like it will keep him out long term, but he could well miss the first few games and that is huge for Kansas City who are already without their best defender in Chris Jones who is holding out while waiting for a new contract.
The Lions have been a bit of an offseason darling amongst the media, with the defence looking much improved from last season where they were one of the weakest units in the league. We saw last year that Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown and the rest of this offence could put up big numbers, so we could see this team really challenging in what looks like a weak NFC North.
Since the Kelce news the Chiefs have moved from six-point favourites to just five now. I would still lean towards the Chiefs here, but with no real confidence. The record of the defending champion in these games is fantastic, and there are few teams who tend to come out of the gate firing quite like the Chiefs, but with no Kelce there is a lot of pressure on young wide receiver Skyy Moore to lead this group. If you want to back the Chiefs against the spread, I would wait until the last minute as this line could continue to move. Or if you are a Lions backer, do it ASAP. Members Can View Hub Here Members Can View Hub Here
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Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
These two teams both have a chance to be contenders in the NFC if they can take a step up. They have a lot of talent, but have some question marks.
Micah Parsons is one of the favourites to be defensive player of the year and he can lead Dallas a long way here. With an offence that is likely to put up a lot of points once again, it is easy to see why people could be in on Dallas making a run.
The Giants decided to pay Daniel Jones in the offseason and he needs to repay their faith with another step forward. He was much better under Brian Daboll and they have made some nice moves in the offseason – Darren Waller in particular looks to be a big improvement.
Even on the road, Dallas start as three point favourites.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
It may be weird to see, but Aaron Rodgers will be starting his first game since leaving the Green Bay Packers. This Jets team is a very interesting prospect. They have great talent around Rodgers, even if there is questions over the offensive line, but it is the defence that should perhaps make them most hopeful of being a genuine contender. The number four defence a year ago has only got better in the offseason. They could be the best in the league and with Rodgers slinging the ball around, they may be hard to beat.
The Bills have been one of the best teams in the league for a few seasons, but many have cooled on them a bit this year. But they still have an immense amount of talent and should be right there at the end of the season. Josh Allen is among the favourites for MVP once again and even after a dip towards the back end of 2022, will still have the Bills offence scaring defensive coordinators.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
This has the potential to be game of the week. Joe Burrow vs Deshaun Watson could be one of the big rivalries in the NFL over the next few years if the latter can get back to the levels he showed before his suspension.
The Bengals have been one of the best teams in the league since drafting Burrow and this season should be no different. They have one of the best groups of receivers in the league. Ja’Marr chase is a real contender for offensive player of the year. They have made improvements on the line as well and that weas a real issue last season with Burrow just getting hit too much. It would be shocking if this team wasn’t there come the end of the season as one of the top teams in the AFC.
The Browns on the other hand have some big questions. Watson left a lot to be desired with his six games at the end of last season, and after a couple of years away from the game, it is not guaranteed that he can still reach those highs he achieved as a Texan. But if he can, the Browns are a dangerous team. They have lots of talent on either side of the ball and have all the makings of a top team if Watson can still hang with the best.
The Bengals are slight favourites on the road, with the line currently sat at 2.5.
San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The 49ers received a big boost with Nick Bosa ending his holdout and signing what is the largest ever contract for a defensive player. He is the heartbeat of this fantastic defence and it will be huge for them to get him back. Brock Purdy is the clear QB1 now after San Francisco decided to cut their losses with Trey Lance and trade him away. If he can show the same form he did a year ago, then the 49ers will be one of the top seeds in the NFC.
The Steelers were the team that really came out of the offseason with most credit. The offence should be improved with Kenny Pickett gaining experience and some decent talent around him, but if this team is going to be good, it is likely on the back of TJ Watt and the talented defence.
Dolphins Miami @ Los Angeles Chargers
This matchup could be fantastic. We have two phenomenal and entertaining offences that can score points almost at will.
The Chargers big offseason news was Kellen Moore coming in as offensive coordinator. Justin Herbert has been incredible since almost day one in the league, but has often been let down by his coaching staff’s poor decisions. In Moore he gets somebody that is regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the league. There may be a few issues bedding in, but expect this team to really pick up as the season goes on and they get more comfortable in this new offence.
The Dolphins offence will be what it was last year. An insane amount of speed with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and a really good young quarterback that looks better and better whenever he is on the field. They are now in perhaps the toughest division in the league, but just like the Chargers, the Dolphins have all the pieces of a team that can make a run at a Super Bowl.
The Chargers at home are currently a field goal favourite.
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
The NFC South looks a bit of a mess this season. There is no clear favourite, but that is more down to all the teams being flawed than strong.
The Falcons, like the Lions, have been an offseason darling. They have one of the easiest strength of schedules in the entire league, and with not much competition in division, they could make their way into the playoffs without needing too many wins. Adding Bijan Robinson should improve this offence which already has a lot of talent (even if they have struggled to utilise it) in Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Desmond Ridder at quarterback is a big question mark, but he has looked competent at the very least in his limited opportunities.
Bryce Young is the headline for the Panthers. The former Alabama quarterback and number one pick in this season’s draft will start his professional career on Sunday, but there are doubts about how quickly he will be able to adapt. It is not about his own talent, but more about what is around him. After trading DJ Moore to the Bears, there is a real lack of talent. Adam Thielen and DJ Chark are good names, but are very much at the back ends of their careers. The line looks rough as well. It could be a long season for the young QB.
The Falcons start as 3.5 point favourites here.
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The rest of the games…
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
It is Trevor Lawrence vs Anthony Richardson here. Many will be watching this to see if perhaps the most athletic quarterback we have ever seen come into the league can lead the Colts to victory or if Lawrence can pick up here he left off last season. The Jags QB took some major steps over the second half of last season and they start the season as strong favourites to win the AFC South.
The Jags will go into this game as favourites, even on the road. The line is currently at 4.5 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
The Bucs are a bit of a mess as the post-Brady era takes shape. It is Baker Mayfield that will start but they look much more likely to be picking top five in next year’s draft than being a contender.
The Vikings let Dalvin cook leave, but overall look like they will be the same sort of team we saw a year ago. In a weak division, it may well be enough. Justin Jefferson is a higlight machine and those of you that watch on Red Zone are likely to see plenty of him once again. In a week of tight games, this is one of the biggest lines with Minnesota big six point favourites.
Tennessee Titans @ New Orleans Saints
It is the start of the Derek Carr era in New Orleans and their home advantage makes them three point favourites.
Both teams look set to be somewhere in the middle of the pack, but will be looking for young recievers in Chris Olave and Treylon Burks to step up and lead the offences. They could both be playoff teams if things break just right for them, but are unlikely to be real contenders for a Super Bowl.
Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Commanders
There are few teams that have made their intention to tank a season more obvious than the Cardinals. They have traded away almost all assets. With Kyler Murray on the sidelines for at least the early part of the season, and don’t be surprised if that is the entire season, they are really going to struggle to get any wins. They have a real chance to be the first ever 0-17 team.
The Commanders have decided to go with Sam Howell as starter at QB and the early signs are good. He has a good group of pass catchers and with a defence that looks like it could be one of the better units in the league if Chase Young can really step up and show the talent he had to make him the number two pick in the draft a few years ago.
This is one of the biggest lines of the week with Washington currently favourites by a full touchdown.
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have a new coordinator and many are tipping Lamar Jackson to get back to his MVP form. He has probably the best group of receivers he has had since heading to Baltimore and it is easy to see why many are backing the Ravens this season.
CJ Stroud will start his first NFL game and what was the most pro ready quarterback in the draft last season could hit the ground running. The Texans are likely to be amongst the teams with the worst record in the league at the end of the season, but they have some young talent that is likely to get better and better as the season goes on. It is unlikely to be a good start though with the home team currently a massive 10 point favourite.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
For the first time in a long time, the Bears enter the season with more hope than their bitter rivals. With Aaron Rodgers heading to New York, it leaves Jordan Love as the passer in Green Bay. With very little around him, it may be a struggle for the young QB.
Justin Fields has shown signs of being a very good quarterback, but will need to improve his passing if the Bears are going to really move to that next level. He has shown he is one of the best running QBs in the league though and that is enough to make them slight favourites here.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Denver Broncos
Sean Payton makes his return to coaching with the Denver Broncos, and after an underwhelming first season in Denver, Russell Wilson will be hoping that one of the best offensive head coaches of the past two decades can unlock this team. The task is tough in an incredibly strong division, but if Payton can unlock Wilson’s best, they will be a dangerous team.
The Raiders look like the clear fourth team in this division, even if they are a decent team themselves. Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start for them as he takes over from Derek Carr. Josh McDaniels is under a lot of pressure to get things right this year and he will be hoping Jimmy G is the man to lead his team to at least eight wins.
The Broncos are 3.5 favourites currently.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots
Two teams on very different trajectories. The Eagles are the reigning NFC Champions and are favourites to make it back to the Super Bowl.
We are so used to just pencilling the Patriots in as a playoff team but this roster looks a long way from that sort of level. There have even been whispers that Bill Belichick’s time in New England could be close to the end.
On the road, the Eagles are 3.5 point favourites.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
The Rams are likely to struggle this season. Even with Aaron Donald, they have one of the weakest defensive rosters in the league. The offence has its own issues with Cooper Kupp looking set for a spell on the sidelines and not too much behind him.
The Seahawks have only added to their impressive offence from last season with rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba. In what is a weak division it would be a surprise if both they and the 49ers were not playoff teams. Whether they can really push the 49ers is the real question.