2024-25 NFL Kickoff Game — Who Will The Chiefs Face To Start The Season?

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2024-2025 NFL Kickoff Game - Who Will The Chiefs Face To Start The New Season?

The attention of the NFL is hastily turning toward the combine in Indianapolis, swiftly followed by free agency and the 2024 NFL draft. One eye, however, is firmly cast on the 2024-25 season. The next few months leading into the start of the season represent some degree of hope for every team. All will have different aspirations, but they’ll all want to win their opening game, and potentially the Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs run to the Super Bowl was paved with tough tests and playoff wins over the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens, and then the crowning achievement against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas — the second time the franchise has defeated the 49ers in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2003-04 New England Patriots, so they’ll be the first team in that time to host back-to-back opening games in the NFL. 

Which team could the Chiefs end up playing?

The opening game of the NFL season is usually a marquee matchup. In the last three years, we’ve seen the Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions, the Los Angeles Rams host the Bills, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the Dallas Cowboys. All three of the visiting teams from the last three opening matchups went on to reach the playoffs and prove to be among the better teams in the NFL. 

Kansas City’s reward for winning the Super Bowl and finishing atop the AFC West for the eighth consecutive season will likely be a tough game at Arrowhead on opening night. With the NFL already releasing every team’s list of opponents for the 2024 season, we already know some of the potential opponents for the Chiefs. It’s unlikely to be a divisional game, so rule out the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders. With that said, we have some options:

In a similar vein to the Chiefs taking on the Lions last season, they could open the 2024 season against the Houston Texans — an up-and-coming team with a young head coach looking to make a splash after an excellent season. There’s potential for this being a possible playoff matchup, too.

If not the Texans, it could be either one of the Chiefs’ 2023 playoff opponents: the Bills or the Ravens. Both teams will likely be Super Bowl contenders in 2024 and present a marquee matchup for the Chiefs. However, it could also be a rematch of the AFC championship game from two seasons ago if the Chiefs take on the Cincinnati Bengals. After all, this will be a Bengals team looking to bounce back.

A redemption season for the Bengals

Despite losing Joe Burrow for seven games, the Bengals still finished with a 9-8 record and narrowly missed the playoffs. Jake Browning, a former undrafted free agent, stepped under center for the Bengals and helped lead the team to a 4-3 record as a starter and led the NFL in completion percentage. Even without their star quarterback, the Bengals were a competitive team that came within inches of making the playoffs. 

Burrow will likely retain his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in 2024 when he’s back and fully healthy, and that automatically makes the Bengals a dangerous team. In Burrow’s two fully healthy seasons in 2021 and 2022, the Bengals won 22 of 30 regular season games and made it to a Super Bowl, followed by another trip to the AFC championship game in 2022.

The Bengals have decisions to make with the likes of Tee Higgins, D.J. Reader, and Jonah Williams in free agency, but the roster — especially with Burrow under center — is still strong enough to compete for a Super Bowl berth in 2024 and could end up as one of the favorites. Let’s take a look at the Bengals’ Super Bowl odds and AFC odds for the 2024 season: