The NFL season is back, and football fans all over the world are excited for another season of some pigskin action. This season, fans are in for a treat because the first game of the season is a Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. The game will be played at Sports Authority Field on Thursday, September 8, and is expected to kickoff at 8:30 PM. ET.
Since the Broncos and Panthers met in February, there have been some notable changes on both teams. Quarterback Peyton Manning, who won his second Super Bowl last season, decided to hang up his cleats and retire.
After Manning announced his retirement, the Broncos were expected to hand the reigns over to Brock Osweiler, but the young quarterback wasn’t happy about being benched in favor of Manning at the end of the season, and took his talents to Houston.
With their top two quarterbacks gone, the Broncos signed Mark Sanchez and attempted to trade for Colin Kaepernick, but the deal fell through because Kaepernick wasn’t willing to take a pay cut.
Denver tried to address their quarterback quandary through the NFL Draft, and drafted Paxton Lynch. However, second year player Trevor Siemian outplayed both Sanchez and Lynch in the preseason, and was named the team’s opening day starter. Sanchez, who was hoping for a fresh start in Denver, was released by the Broncos and is expected to be signed by the quarterback needy Dallas Cowboys.
The Carolina Panthers have had a few months to boil over their disappointing performance in the Super Bowl, and come into the season as one of the favorites to win the NFC for the second consecutive year. The team will be without two of its key members from last season.
Cornerback Charles Tillman, who mentored some of the younger defensive backs on the team last season, decided to retire during the offseason. All Pro cornerback Josh Norman was looking for a big payday from the Panthers, but the team ultimately decided to let him walk when they rescinded the offer they made to him. Norman is now with the Washington Redskins, leaving the Panthers with a big hole to fill in their secondary.
The good news for the Panthers is that their talented wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is back in the lineup after missing all of last season with an injury. The Panthers, who had the best offense in the league last year, are going to be even better, which is a very scary thought for their opponents.
Panthers vs Broncos Betting Lines
The Broncos still have one of the best defenses in the league, and they should be able to apply a lot of pressure on Cam Newton, especially with their home crown expected to be extremely loud. However, the quarterback situation is a cause for concern, and until I see some more of Siemian in action, I have to go with the Panthers to win the game and cover the spread.
Play: Panthers -3 @ Bovada.lv