The 2016 football season is finally here and this week, right after Labour Day, the NFL schedule for Week 1 is going to hook viewers up with plenty of action including a Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
This is the first time that a Super Bowl rematch opens the season since 1970 when the Minnesota Vikings faced the Kansas City Chiefs. So many fans will love that the 2016 season will start the way the 2015 season ended, like a long stretched soap opera. The NFL 2016 season kickoff game will air on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. EST. And Carolina will make the special trip down to Denver in this very exciting and anticipated season opener that might offer some sweet revenge for Carolina. Many Vegas lines are reporting that the the Panthers are favored by -3.
It’s hard to believe that it was almost seven months ago to the day that the Broncos defeated Carolina 24-10 at Super Bowl 50 and upset the crowd favourite. This time around should be very different though. Last season the very famous and on the verge of retirement, QB Peyton Manning stole the show from Panthers’ superstar quarterback and league MVP, Cam Newton. Newton, in-season has thrown for 3,800 yards with 35 touchdowns and he even had a limited offensive arsenal aside from Ted Ginn Jr. This year, lucky for Cam Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is returning from an injury which will make the Newton and Ginn combo even more dangerous. During Benjamin’s rookie year in 2014, he had over 1,000 yards in receptions. Last year Carolina had the number one offense n the league, and this year could most likely be a repeat of that amazing status.
There will be some missing faces on Carolina as cornerback Josh Norman got picked up by the Washington Redskins this season, but the Panthers will have an amazingly solid defensive unit and one to be feared. Defensive tackle Vernon Butler, from Louisiana Tech, was picked up in the first round by the Panthers in the 2016 NFL draft and he will make an immediate impact. Three other cornerbacks were signed by the Panthers as well to add to their fort.
The Denver Broncos, are defending Super Bowl champions but they will look quite different this NFL season than from last year. Denver weas led by a legend, the greatest regular season quarterback in NFL history, in Manning. Since the win, Manning retired, and the new Broncos’ other quarterback Trevor Siemian has huge shoes to fill. He is only in his second year in the NFL, and this season will be his first time as a starter. That’s nerve wracking for anyone let alone coming in after a win like in Super Bowl 50.
So now, not to sit on their laurels too much, the Broncos will focus on rushing, with running backs like C.J. Anderson, rather than a passing game led by an inexperienced QB. The good news for the Broncos is that they won the majority of the NFL season last year thanks to their defense so they will have time to work on their rushing game and get rid of the kinks. The Broncos will have a strong defense this year, that will be led by great players like Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware. But we can’t forget that an inexperienced quarterback could hinder any progress they make, as QBs have lost games for many teams far and wide.
It’s easy to look at the last time these two teams faced off, the Panthers were 4.5 point favorites, and it was an upset that the Broncos won the game. Many thought it was all won on heart. Manning knew it was his last game, and the legendary quarterback reached deep inside and found one last game, one last win. Paired with a great defense, he was able to pull off the best send off victory imaginable for an NFLer. It’s the stuff movies are made. To think the Broncs only had three touchdowns in that game, and that the Panthers were held to only 10 points says everything about the defense that the Broncos’ have.
Cam Newton was obviously very upset after that loss and NFL fans probably remember him walking off during the postgame interview shunning reporters. Bet yout bottom dollar that Newton will bring everything he has to this game. And this time around it’s not everything on the line at the biggest NFL game of the year. The Panthers aren’t playing against the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time either, and the Panthers will definitely be more heavy-handed and aggressive this time.
Siemian can’t be trusted yet either and the Panthers no doubt have studied the Broncos and made the necessary adjustments to beat Denver all summer long. That’s why this game is a gift for NFL fans. And a smart bet for this rematch is giving up the 3 points and taking the Panthers over the Broncos straight out.