Report: Denver Broncos to host Carolina Panthers to open 2016 NFL season

NFL chose a Super Bowl 50 rematch to kick off 2016

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Denver Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak, right, and Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera shake hands after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. — AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The 2016 season will begin with the way last season ended, a game between the Broncos and Panthers.

Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reported that a Super Bowl 50 rematch will kick off the 2016 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 8 when the Broncos host the Panthers in primetime at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, and the Broncos happened to be in line to host the Panthers in 2016 for the first time since 2004.

The defending champions will look vastly different on opening night without Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson or Danny Trevathan. As of now, Mark Sanchez is slated to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback.

The Panthers, on the other hand, return most of their starters and get wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin back from a torn ACL.

The game will be on NBC. The NFL also could have sent the Texans and Osweiler to Denver for the opener but decided on the Super Bowl rematch as the way to begin the season.