Real, honest-to-goodness football that really counts starts Thursday night as the first game of the 2016 season features the same teams as the final game of the 2015 season. The Carolina Panthers are traveling to face the Denver Broncos, but with a different cast of characters.
For the Super Bowl champion Broncos, Peyton Manning is retired to a life of hitting up Eli to hang out and eat nachos, while Trevor Siemian takes the reigns of the offense. On the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Malik Jackson is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars and linebacker Danny Trevathan signed with the Chicago Bears.
For the Pantherse, Cam Newton will get Kelvin Benjamin back from the injured reserve, while incorrigible loud-mouth corner Josh Norman was allowed to leave in free agency (where he signed with the Washington Redskins).
Will the Denver defense overcome its losses and once again frustrate the Carolina offense? Trevor Siemian be — as incredible as this sounds to wonder out loud — an upgrade over Peyton Manning?
We’ll find out when the NFL officially returns at 8:30pm tonight.
Time: Sept. 8, 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC - Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (Color), and Michelle Tafoya (Sideline)
Online Streaming: NBC.com, DirecTV Sunday Ticket, audio streamed on NFL.com Game Pass
Radio: Westood 1 Sports Radio
Odds: Panthers (-3), Over/Under - 41.5 (Jesse’s Pick - Carolina Panthers)
Use this as your open thread for the night, and HAPPY FOOTBALL!