NFL opening day is here, finally! The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers kick off the 2016 season in just a few hours. NO, this is not a rematch of the Super Bowl that is gone and buried. But both teams find themselves in a bit of a transition. For Carolina, on defense they are starting two rookies on the edge to defend the numbers, and offensively their standout receiver Benjamin is back. The real question will there be a slight Super Bowl hangover for the Panthers who struggled at times during the preseason.
The Broncos on the other hand continue to build their team depth, but come into the 2016 season with two young guns at quarterback. Can a second year player in Trevor Siemian and rookie back up Paxton Lynch drive the bus with a solid run game and one of the best defenses in the NFL? A lot at stake for both teams in week one. Below are the regular season series numbers when these two clubs play, and right now the numbers favor the Broncos.
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT DENVER BRONCOS
REGULAR SEASON SERIES
|STREAKS||3 of past 4|
|COACHES VS. OPP.||Ron Rivera: 0-2||Gary Kubiak: 1-0|
|LAST GAME||11/11/12: Broncos 36 at Panthers 14. Denver QB Peyton Manning throws for 301 yards & TD. Broncos PR Trindon Holliday has 76-yard PR-TD.|
|LAST GAME AT SITE||10/10/04: Broncos 20, Panthers 17. Denver QB Jake Plummer passes for 226 yards & 2 TDs. Broncos RB Reuben Droughns rushes for 193 yards.|
|BROADCAST||NBC (8:30 PM ET): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Tony Boselli (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Car), 81 (Den). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Car), 225 (Den).|
|PASSING||Cam Newton: 296-495-3837-35 (T2L)-10-99.4||Trevor Siemian (Pre.): 27-43-285-1-2-70.4|
|RUSHING||Jonathan Stewart: 242-989-4.1-6||C.J. Anderson: 152-720-4.7-5|
|RECEIVING||Greg Olsen (TE): 77-1104-14.3-7||Demaryius Thomas: 105-1304-12.4-6|
|SACKS||Kawann Short: 11||Von Miller: 11|
|INTs||Kurt Coleman: 7 (T3L)||Aqib Talib: 3|
|PUNTING||Andy Lee (Cle.): 46.7||Riley Dixon (R) (Pre.): 41.9|
|KICKING||Graham Gano: 146 (2L) (56/59 PAT; 30/36 FG)||Brandon McManus: 125 (35/36 PAT; 30/35 FG)|
The 50 Super Bowl winners have a 40-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The defending Super Champion Denver Broncos, have posted a 42-13-1 (.759) record in their home openers, which is the best in the NFL. Denver has won 22 of its past 25.
Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that have won their openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:
- 554 teams which won their openers, 288went onto the playoffs (173 won division titles).
- 555 teams which lost their openers, 134went onto the playoffs (77 won division titles).
There is so much football to be played in the next 16 weeks, I plan on sitting back and enjoying the ride, while analyzing each and every snap. Look for my 2016 predictions on TonySoftli.com and follow me on Twitter: @SoftliSEA
NFL League data provided by NFL Communications