Playoff teams don’t lose their openers. Mark Craig’s NFL picks

Of the NFL's 334 Week 1 winners since 2002, 176 of them (52.7%) made the playoffs. The losers? They made it 82 times (24.7%).

So, short story shorter, unless you're already tanking for Caleb Williams, Week 1 is a big deal.

Here are our Week 1 games to watch.

Full Week 1 schedule and game previews


Lions (+5 ½) at Chiefs: The Lions will come out of this one wishing they weren't wearing the giant bull's-eye as preseason darlings of the national media. Detroit is good enough to recover and contend for the playoffs, but opening the entire NFL season on Thursday night at Arrowhead against the champs in prime time is too much to ask of the Lions. Chiefs 31, Lions 17


Buccaneers (+5½) at Vikings: One of the more anticipated Purple coaching debuts ever arrives as Vikings Nation gets to stop hearing about defensive coordinator Brian Flores and his crazed-dog scheme and starts seeing whether it will work with his personnel. Drawing Baker Mayfield and not Tom Brady as the home-opening foe sure helps. Vikings 24, Buccaneers 17


Packers (+1½) at Bears: For the first time since Sept. 20, 1992, the Packers have a franchise quarterback not named Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers. Jordan Love doesn't yet "own" Chicago like his predecessor Rodgers selfishly claimed, but a strong running game and a good defense will make Love's debut a team victory over a Bears squad that's heading in the right direction. Packers 23, Bears 17


49ers (-2 ½) at Steelers: Brock Purdy made Trey Lance disappear based on five regular-season starts and three playoff ones, the last of which led to offseason elbow surgery. Purdy can become the first NFL quarterback to win his first six regular-season starts while throwing at least two touchdown passes in each one. Or be upstaged by fellow NFL sophomore Kenny Pickett and the Steelers defense in Pittsburgh. Steelers 23, 49ers 16


Texans (+9½) at Ravens: Lamar Jackson's finally been paid, he has new weapons to throw to and a new offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, who should frolic in his debut as Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud suffers the awful luck of making his NFL debut on the road against Baltimore's defense. Ravens 31, Texans 17


Eagles (-3½) at Patriots: The class of the NFC a year ago and a popular Super Bowl-winning pick this year (guilty) gets sucker-punched on the road by Bill Belichick's defense and the return of Bill O'Brien as offensive coordinator. The Eagles might need a minute to adjust to some new personnel and the loss of both coordinators. Patriots 27, Eagles 24


Bills (-2 ½) at Jets: Week 1 ends with former NFC North rivals Aaron Rodgers and Dalvin Cook making their Jets debut on "Monday Night Football" alongside a dominant defense and star-in-the-making receiver Garrett Wilson. Can the offensive line do its job, though? In the first nine weeks, Rodgers will play three prime-time home games against Buffalo's Josh Allen, Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and the Chargers' Justin Herbert. Jets 21, Bills 20