Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) grabs a loose ball ahead of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl 50 at Levi
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The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are set to face off in a Super Bowl rematch on Thursday night. We preview the big time matchup right here.
Football is almost back Broncos Country. And boy did the NFL pick quite a game for the opening kickoff.
The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers open up the season with the same opponent they ended their season against. This has not happened in the NFL since the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings faced off in 1970 after both teams ended the year in the Super Bowl.
There will be a lot of questions that will go into this game. How do the Panthers play after losing the Super Bowl right out of the gate? How will new starting quarterback Trevor Siemian do in his first NFL start?
So many questions. But for now, we are going to take a look at this game, starting with the general information.
Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Bennie Fowler (16) against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18 to advance to the Super Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
On Monday, the Denver Broncos were without Jeff Heuerman and Bennie Fowler as they are recovering from a hamstring and fractured elbow respectfully.
For Tuesday’s injury report, Jeff Heuerman was able to practice on a limited basis. This is a good sign for him to possibly play in Thursday’s game. However, things were different for Bennie Fowler. He missed practice once again.
I believe that Fowler’s chances of playing on Thursday is in serious trouble. He will at least be questionable if he can go at practice on Wednesday.
The other players listed were a full participant, meaning that they will most likely play on Thursday.
For the Carolina Panthers, only three players were on the injury report on Monday. On Tuesday, Vernon Butler and A.J. Klein were full participants in practice after being limited the other day.
Dean Marlowe was still limited with a hamstring injury.
It looks as if the Carolina Panthers will most likely be healthy for this rematch.
Aug 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) makes a call in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Broncos Defense vs. Cam Newton
The Denver Broncos did a spectacular job in the Super Bowl, limiting Cam Newton from being able to scramble out of the pocket and making plays with his feet.
If the Denver Broncos are going to start their title defense with a win, they are going to need a repeat performance.
And with players like Demarcus Ware and Von Miller hunting the quarterback like a shark does its prey, then this should not be difficult. However, Newton does have Kelvin Benjamin back from his season ending injury. So another weapon for the league MVP last season.
But Cam Newton will also have the No Fly Zone to contend with, so it will not be a cake walk when it comes to throwing the football.
Perhaps the biggest question that has come from this opening game is Trevor Siemian starting in his first NFL game. And his first opponent is not exactly a walk in the park.
The Carolina defense is pretty solid with playmakers like Luke Kuechly, Todd Davis, and Kony Ealy. The defense did suffer a setback with the departure of Josh Norman to the Washington Redskins after a franchise tag dispute that had the Panthers remove the tag making him a free agent.
But this team is no joke, especially with Kuechly able to play in coverage and rush the quarterback from the middle of the field.
All Siemian needs to do is play smart and protect the football. As long as he can do that, he should not have a huge issue with getting the win.
Aug 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) celebrates after a sack in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Was there any surprise? Especially with how he performed in the Super Bowl this past season.
During the offseason, Miller got his big time payday. He is the richest defensive player in the NFL. Now it is time to go out there and prove it.
The edge rusher out of Texas A&M has been a rising star since his was drafted second overall to the Denver Broncos back in 2011. Minus one season that started off with a suspension and ended with a season-ending ACL injury, he has done pretty well for himself.
During the Super Bowl, every time Von Miller got to Cam Newton, he showed him how much of a nightmare he can be to opposing quarterbacks.
The battle between the first and second overall picks from the 2011 NFL Draft will battle once again. So far, Von Miller owns a 2-0 lead. Let us hope that he can make that 3-0.
Feb 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos mascot Miles during the Super Bowl 50 championship parade celebration at Civic Center Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Both of these teams have a lot to prove. The Denver Broncos want to show the rest of the NFL that last season’s championship year was no fluke. As for the Panthers, they want to erase all their doubts and avoid the Super Bowl loss hangover.
I honestly believe that this game could come down to the performance of Trevor Siemian. As I stated early on, if he can limit turnovers and at least give the defense a break here and there, then this is a winnable game for the Denver Broncos.
Cam Newton still has not forgotten the Super Bowl loss and will be looking to be fired up and giving his all against the top defense in the league last year.
For the Denver Broncos this season, the defense will most likely decide a good majority of their games, like they did last year.
One of my bold predictions is that C.J. Anderson will have over 100 yards rushing. I really believe he can do great things for the offense this season.
This score was difficult to predict, but I can never doubt the Denver Broncos. The defense gives the Broncos their first win to open up their title defense.