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Instant Debate

Which game should kick off the 2023 NFL season? Eagles-Chiefs among top options

The 2023 NFL Draft is in hindsight. Now we turn our attention to the 2023 NFL regular-season schedule, which will be unveiled later this month.

Presuming the NFL sticks with the tradition of having the previous season's Super Bowl winner host the NFL Kickoff Game, we can expect the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs to be the home team for the first contest of the year. And we know Kansas City's home opponents will be the Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Bills, Bengals, Dolphins, Bears, Lions and Eagles. With this in mind (and setting aside, for now, the question of whether one of those matchups will be scheduled for the Chiefs' upcoming game in Germany), we asked our analysts to answer the following question:

Who would you most want to see the Chiefs play to open the 2023 NFL season?

UPDATE: Since this debate was published, two games on the Chiefs' schedule have been announced: Dolphins-Chiefs in Germany in Week 9 and Bengals-Chiefs on New Year's Eve in Week 17.

Steve Mariucci

PICK: Philadelphia Eagles

The absolutely loaded nature of the Chiefs' 2023 home schedule should result in many prime-time appearances for Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and Co., but the best game we can get to kick off the season is a rematch of Super Bowl LVII. The Eagles have made it clear this offseason that they're coming for the crown, retaining a number of veteran playmakers, signing star quarterback Jalen Hurts to a massive extension and nailing the draft. A clash of two titans early in September would set the stage for the rest of the season. 

LaDainian Tomlinson

PICK: Buffalo Bills

Some of the best games we've seen in the last few years have been between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, including that AFC Divisional Round gem from the 2021 playoffs. The Chiefs have what the Bills want: the Lombardi Trophy. Buffalo can once again set the tone for a Super Bowl-or-bust 2023 campaign by taking down the NFL champs -- or the Chiefs can remind us why they are still the cream of the crop. It's a win-win scenario for football fans.

Steve Smith Sr.

PICK: Denver Broncos

A division game might not be the most popular pick, especially against the team that was the AFC West's worst in 2022, but the addition of head coach Sean Payton gives the Broncos the edge they were missing a year ago. Everyone wants to know if the Super Bowl winner can fix Russell Wilson. This would be a huge test right out of the gate. Welcome back, coach!

Marc Ross

PICK: Philadelphia Eagles

There are a lot of good -- even great -- options, but the right choice is Eagles-Chiefs. These two teams proved they were built for the bright lights back in February, so it makes sense to begin the 2023 NFL slate with the same two star quarterbacks and their talented squads. The last time we got a Super Bowl rematch in the ensuing season's kickoff game was 2016, when Von Miller's Denver Broncos doubled down on their SB victory and beat Cam Newton's Carolina Panthers. Can the Chiefs hold off the Eagles again?

Maurice Jones-Drew

PICK: Cincinnati Bengals

As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, quarterbacks are king in this league, and Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow are setting the standard at the position right now. These two have faced off in the last two AFC Championship Games, with each winning one. Could this year's Kickoff Game give us a preview of a third straight AFC title game matchup? It's definitely possible.

UPDATE: The Chiefs will host the Bengals on New Year's Eve in Week 17.

David Carr

PICK: Philadelphia Eagles

The quarterback matchups presented by the Chiefs' home schedule is unreal, featuring Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, Justin Herbert, Jared Goff and Jimmy Garoppolo. Sorry, Tua Tagovailoa and Russell Wilson, but having your name start with "J" feels weirdly important in this exercise. I would love nothing more than to see Hurts, the man of the offseason after signing a monster extension, get another chance to dethrone Patrick Mahomes on Thursday night after watching them duke it out in February with elite play. 

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