NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down Week 1
NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down Week 1

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Carolina at Denver (+3), 41.5 o/u – Thursday, 8:30 p.m. EDT

Comments: It's amazing how much has changed since these two teams clashed in the Super Bowl, isn't it? Peyton Manning's retired to a life of leisure as a TV pitchman, Brock Osweiler's in Houston, Josh Norman's in Washington, Malik Jackson's in Jacksonville (his contract was so big they named the city after him) and Ronnie Hillman's unemployed. Of those losses Norman's might actually be the biggest, believe it or not. The Panthers are starting two rookies at cornerback in his place, James Bradberry and Daryl Worley, and while the duo has some size it also seems ripe for exploitation by Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. That's assuming, of course, that Trevor Siemian can put the ball in their general vicinity, which isn't a given yet. ... The spread is understandable given the Broncos' QB situation, but history suggests you fade them at your peril. Super Bowl champs are 10-2 in the so-called "Kickoff Game" since the idea was introduced in 2002, with the Giants being the only home team to lose as champs (the Ravens lost in, ahem, Denver in 2013). ... The biggest injury concern for Carolina is with first round pick DT Vernon Butler, who'll play through a dislocated ring finger but was set for a reserve role on their stacked defensive front. Kelvin Benjamin will also be on a snap count due to conditioning concerns, leaving the door

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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