Of course the Panthers are playing the Broncos Week 1 (and other reactions to the NFL schedule)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) works to keep the crowd enthused during the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, January 24, 2016. Carolina won, 49-15, advancing to Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos.

Of course. The Carolina Panthers will start off the regular season with a game against the Denver Broncos, which, unless you had it erased from your mind MiB-style (lucky), you’ll remember is a rematch of Super Bowl 50.

Here’s the thing: The Panthers could win that game by 30 — a possibility, given the saltiness in Carolina and the fact that the only quarterback on the Denver roster with any real experience is Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez — and it still wouldn’t erase what happened in February. Nothing will. Except, of course, a Super Bowl win.

Here’s the path the Panthers face this season, with a few comments sprinkled in:


Week 1: Thursday, Aug. 11: @Baltimore 7:30 p.m.

Week 2: Saturday, Aug. 20: @Tennessee 3 p.m. (‘sup, Tennessee Mom?)

Week 3: Friday, Aug. 26: vs. New England 7:30 p.m.

Week 4: Thursday, Sept. 1: vs. Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.

Regular season

Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 8: @Denver 8:30 p.m.

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18: vs. San Francisco 1 p.m. (Home opener. Get rowdy, BofA.)

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25: vs. Minnesota 1 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2: @Atlanta 1 p.m. (The first division game of the year, and the first of three division games in a row. Better than playing Atlanta twice in the final four weeks of the season like last year.)

Week 5: Monday, Oct. 10: vs. Tampa Bay 8:30 (Side effect of being good: More primetime games. That’s awesome for fans — night games at BofA! — but hard on players playing on shorter rest.)

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16: @New Orleans 1 p.m.

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30: vs. Arizona 4:25 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6: @Los Angeles 4:05 p.m. (Los Angeles?!? Oh yeah, LA has a team now — the Rams moved back there.)

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13: vs. Kansas City 1 p.m.

Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 17: vs. New Orleans 8:25 p.m. (New Orleans? At home? At night? Yes please.)

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27: @Oakland 4:25 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4: @Seattle 8:30 p.m. (That’s right, the Panthers play all three of the teams they played in the playoffs last season — Arizona, Seattle and Denver — in the regular season this year.)

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11: vs. San Diego 1 p.m.

Week 15: Monday, Dec. 19: @Washington 8:30 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24: vs. Atlanta 1 p.m.

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1: @Tampa Bay 1 p.m.

So there it is. Any predictions for how the Panthers will do? Tweet them to @Charlotte_Five.

Photo: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer


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