NFL: 2023 Schedule Released, Rule Changes, and Week 1 preview

NFL: 2023 Schedule Released, Rule Changes, and Week 1 preview

The NFL released its schedule for the 2023-2024 season on May 11, giving fans their first look at the upcoming games this year. Last year’s Super Bowl winner and defending champions Kansas City Chiefs will open the season against the Detroit Lions on September 7 in Kansas City. Now that free agency and the draft have passed, we have a much clearer picture of what rosters will look like on opening day. From Aaron Rodgers’ debut with the New York Jets to Bryce Young’s first game, there are a lot of reasons to tune into week one of the NFL season, whether you want to bet on the NFL or be entertained.

Quick Take

  • Buffalo Bills favoured against New York Jets in Week 1
  • Notable 2023 NFL rule changes
  • Kansas City Chiefs host Detroit Lions on opening night

Opening Night, Detroit Lions @ Kansas City Chiefs (September 7)

The Chiefs are the early betting favourites to win the first game of the 2023-2024 NFL season. Led by reigning league MVP and Super Bowl 57 MVP Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have -313 odds to win the game on Bet99. The spread for the game is 7 points, with the home team at -7. The Lions spent a lot of money on their defense this offseason, adding Cameron Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Emmanuel Moseley to the roster.

The Lions had one of the worst defenses against the pass and run last year, but their offense scored the third most touchdowns. The defenses should have a huge impact on the outcome of this game. It’s tough to imagine how the Lions will outscore Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and the Chiefs if their defense is not better than last year. 

Sunday Night Football, Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (September 10)

The Dallas Cowboys are the betting favourites for this Sunday Night Football showdown between division rivals on NFL betting sites. The Cowboys have -154 odds to win the game and are -3 on the spread. The Giants are +125 underdogs. The Giants signed Daniel Jones to a four-year $160 million contract this offseason. Jones will have an opportunity to prove himself early in the season by defeating Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. This should be Darren Waller’s first game with the Giants.

The Cowboys will also have a couple of new additions. They traded for Stephon Gillmore and Brandin Cooks. The Cowboys were 2-0 against the Giants last season. Over the last few seasons, the Cowboys have been a much better team than the Giants. It looks like this year could be more competitive now that Jones and Saquon Barkley have a couple of years under their belts. 

Monday Night Football, Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (September 11)

The Buffalo Bills are the betting favourites for Aaron Rodgers’ debut game with the Jets. Josh Allen and the Bills are -125 favorites, but only -2 on the spread. The Jets are +102 underdogs. No one knows how the Jets will look on opening night. With no Davante Adams and a couple of young receivers last year, Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers started the season slow on offense while the Bills had one of the best offenses in the league.

This game is an opportunity for the Jets defense to show they are one of the best in the NFL against one of the best quarterbacks and offenses in the league. Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the Bills have the ability to score with some of the best teams and have played together for years. However, if the Jets offense starts strong and their defense lives up to expectations, the Bills might not have enough to beat that.

Notable Rule Changes

  • The NFL added an emergency quarterback rule this offseason, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. Teams will be able to give one of their quarterbacks the emergency quarterback title. The emergency quarterback will not count as one of the team’s active players on game day, but would be “eligible for in-game activation if the rest of a team's quarterbacks are unable to participate due to injury or ejection, but not as a result of a benching.” The emergency quarterback must leave the game if “one of the other quarterbacks is cleared to return to the game.”
  • Players will be allowed to wear the number 0 this season.
  • Handing, or handing off, the football forward will be a penalty, similar to an illegal forward pass according to CBSSports. The rule will result in penalties for teams that hand the ball forward on a read-option and should apply to wide receiver handoffs as well.
  • Referees can review failed fourth-down attempts without one of the teams challenging.