Intriguing Game- Week One
Carolina Panthers (15-1 in 2015) at Denver Broncos (12-4 in 2015)
Panthers: It was quite the year for the Carolina Panthers and I remember being critical of them when they got off to that 4-0 start. I said they had it easy; I wasn’t sold on them and if Ted Ginn is your number one receiver, your offense won’t go far. They silenced me and we all saw Cam Newton have the best season of his career without his number one receiver. We saw what he did without Kelvin Benjamin; just imagine what he could do with him now that he’ll be back on the field healthy. The defense lost Josh Norman, but I don’t think that will hurt them too much because Ron Rivera will work with what he has and it also helps when you still have Luke Kuechly patrolling everybody in the middle of your unit. This is probably what they wanted and they got it. A match up with the team who beat them in the Super Bowl just seven months ago in San Francisco.
Broncos: I haven’t seen a defending Super Bowl champion make as many changes as they did since those Baltimore Ravens in 2013. Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset after winning Super Bowl 50 and decided to call it a career and retire after 18 seasons, the man who was expected to replace him in Brock Osweiler didn’t accept Denver’s contract offer and signed with the Houston Texans, defensive tackle Malik Jackson signed with Jacksonville and Danny Trevathan signed with the Chicago Bears. That’s a lot to lose when you look at it. Two starting quarterbacks and two defensive starters but their biggest win this offseason was resigning Von Miller to a contract extension. When they traded for Mark Sanchez, he was the leading candidate to be the starting quarterback but then Denver released him and Trevor Siemian is now the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos and he’s filling some big shoes. They begin their title defense tonight against the team they defeated in February.
Panthers Player(s) To Watch: The offensive line– Let’s rewind back to the Super Bowl. Throughout the regular season, they controlled the line of scrimmage and kept Cam protected. In Super Bowl 50, not so much. I’m really curious to see how they will gameplan against Von Miller, this time, around because they’ve had seven months to do it.
Broncos Player To Watch: C.J. Anderson– In order to get Trevor Siemian comfortable, they’ll be running the football more and it’ll start with this guy. the running game is always beneficial to a quarterback who’s just starting and if he can pound the ball and get some hard earned yards, Siemian will have the time to throw the ball down the field. The run still does set up the pass.
Prediction: What a way to kick off a new season, a Super Bowl rematch and the reigning MVP along with the Super Bowl champions. I see this game being a lot different than what took place in February. A much closer game and different winner. I like the Panthers to win this one. Panthers 20 Broncos 17