The wait has been long, but an intriguing Week 1 will finally kick off the NFL season in earnest on Thursday night.
The action all begins with a Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.
The matchup itself is a good microcosm for the season. Some of the names and faces in that matchup will be the same. We’ll wonder whether Cam Newton will be able to handle the vaunted Panthers pass rush. But a new season brings new storylines as the Broncos will attempt to replace Peyton Manning on offense.
Below is a look at the complete schedule along with the latest odds from Odds Shark for each matchup and prediction.
Win Totals via Odds Shark.
Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
The 2015 season ended with the Denver Broncos riding a killer pass rush and just enough offense to capture the title in a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Now both will start their new path to the title against one another.
Despite their status as the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Denver Broncos will come into the game as three-point underdogs, according to Odds Shark.
That’s most likely due to the fact that the Broncos are now starting Trevor Siemian instead of Peyton Manning, while the Carolina Panthers are coming off a season in which they went 14-2. Even Von Miller—the Broncos’ biggest difference-maker—talked about the Panthers picking up where they left off in the lead-in to this game, per the Carolina Panthers website:
In my opinion, I think we’re going to see the same championship type of team from the Carolina Panthers. They only lost two games last year and had plenty of opportunities to win the game last year. They just didn’t execute. I feel like this year they are going to be the exact same team with all the challenges that they have, they’re returning 18 starters. I feel like they’ll be able to execute more during this game.
To some extent, Miller is right. This game should be a lot closer than the 14-point game the Broncos saw in the Super Bowl. However, the play here should still be the Broncos. Brad Evans of Yahoo laid out some reasoning for why the Broncos offense shouldn’t be discounted in the matchup:
May be a …