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2016 Thursday Night Football Live: Carolina Panthers v. Denver Broncos

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The 2016 NFL season starts tonight when the defending champion Broncos host the Panthers. Follow the action live on Battle Red Blog.

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NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers
Reigning MVP Cam Newton will take the field in the season opener tonight.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Well, boys and girls, we made it. Football has finally returned, and it will return with a bang. The match-up that concluded last season will also be the game to start off this season. In those months since that Super Bowl clash, quite a few things have changed for both the Panthers and Broncos.

Let’s start with the Broncos. The offseason was less than kind to the folks from the mountains,.  First they lost starting defensive lineman Malik Jackson to the Jaguars. They then proceeded to lose a big chunk of their Super Bowl winning offensive line by parting ways with Evan Mathis, Ryan Harris and Louis Vazquez.

We should probably also talk about that whole QB fiasco. Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset (and into the sweet embrace of Papa John) after winning his second Super Bowl ring.  The Broncos attempted to secure the services of back-up QB Brock Osweiler, who had been named starting QB (and was later benched) over Manning after Manning went through a bit of a rough patch. Regardless, stuff happened, somebody’s probably written about it, and Osweiler left for the Texans.  The Broncos were left with no apparent QB because of this. So John Elway rolled up his sleeves and got to work immediately by scouring the free agency and trade markets before settling on Mark Sanchez. The Broncos then drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round in what they hope will be a move to secure the future of their QB position. Fast forward a few months to tonight, and Sanchez is no longer with the Broncos. Paxton Lynch is the backup to ye ole salty Siemian (Trevor, that is).

On the Panthers' side of things, they will welcome back their number one receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, who is returning to the team after missing all of last year with an ACL injury. The Panthers suffered big losses of their own this offseason, seeing sstar corner Josh Norman go to the Redskins after the Panthers failed to sign Norman to a long-term deal. This being the Panthers though, the defense is still stacked, as Luke Kuechly, Kawann Short, Star Loutelei and Kony Ealy are all still in Carolina. If that wasn’t enough, the Panthers used their first round pick this year on Vernon Butler, another defensive lineman who some Texans fans might remember fondly.

Broadcast Details:

Time: 7:30 CDT

TV: NBC

Radio: Westwood One Sports

Online Streaming: NFL GamePass, NBCSports.com

This will be your open thread to comment on the game and any other gobbeldy-gook you wish to convey. Usual open thread rules apply. Enjoy!

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