While it is exciting to kick off the 2016 NFL season with a Super Bowl rematch, the fact that Peyton Manning isn't leading the charge for Denver takes it a little bit of the flame out of this one. Yes, ultimately, last year's game (and season) for Denver was about their championship defense, but it still hasn't sunk in yet that Manning is retired. It will when we see Trevor Siemian under center.
Last year, Cam Newton had an MVP performance week in and week out until the Super Bowl. While Denver's defense will come at him again, I think in situations like this, it's more likely that a talented player like Newton will work with a gameplay that counters what went against him last year, catching the Broncos by surprise. Without having enough experience at quarterback to match the punch that Newton and the Panthers deliver, I'll go with Carolina. Panthers 23, Broncos 17
Discuss who you think will come out on top prior to the game. Once the game starts, you can use this as your open thread.
Game: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
Date/Time: Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 8:30 PM ET
Television: NBC - Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth