Carolina Panthers v. Denver Broncos: Week One Game Preview

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi /

The 2016 NFL season kicks off in Denver with a highly-anticipated Super Bowl rematch between the Panthers and Broncos.

The preseason is over. The offseason is finito.

It’s time for some regular season football.

And what better way to start off Week One than with a championship rematch?

The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will clash horns in the Mile High City in what promises to be a memorable meeting of the NFL’s elite. We’ve been waiting since the conclusion of Super Bowl 50 for this one, and now it’s finally here.

Who will begin the 2016 campaign with a spotless record? Let’s break it down.

Why Carolina Will Win

If the Panthers want to erase the memory of their crushing Super Bowl loss, then they’ll have to do it on offense. That starts and ends with 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.

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Newton is arguably the best quarterback in the game, but proved against the Broncos back in February that he can’t do it alone.

His misfit cast of pass-catchers has gotten a huge boost this offseason with the return of 6-foot-5, 245-pound wideout Kelvin Benjamin. He’s a dangerous red zone target and will attempt to exploit mismatches in Denver’s secondary. The same can be expected of second-year receiver Devin Funchess and tight end Greg Olsen.

Carolina’s offensive line remains one of the more solidified units in the league and are fully capable of holding their own out west. Should Newton be given somewhat ample time to throw, he’ll have no problem topping a Broncos team that is shaky on offense, to say the least.

Why Denver Will Win

Similarly to their opponents, coach Gary Kubiak and Co. can’t rely solely on stout defense to win the day. With former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian making his first career start, the rest of Denver’s offense has to show up if they’re to get off on the right foot.

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Siemian will look to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on the outside early and often, as both need to take advantage of the Panthers’ suspect secondary. Considering Carolina is set to field a pair of rookies as their top cornerbacks in rotation, “suspect” may be putting it lightly.

A sleeper to also watch for is Virgil Green, a big-bodied tight end who really flashed in preseason action.

Nevertheless, as long as Siemian takes care of the ball and is able to find his playmakers, the Broncos will be in good shape.


Two vastly different teams will line up in Denver, but the final outcome won’t differ from that of the Super Bowl.

Defense is the name of the game Thursday night and a low scoring affair is a virtual guarantee. The surprisingly efficient play of the inexperienced Siemian will ultimately be what makes the difference, though.

Hopefully Newton doesn’t walk out on anymore pressers after dropping yet another contest to the Broncos.

Final Score: Broncos 24, Panthers 21