Panthers Broncos Week 1 NFL Pick

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Carolina Panthers

vs.

Denver Broncos

Week 1

NFL Pick

9/8/16

Last meeting: Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, Sunday, February 7, 2016

Current Line at 5 dimes sportbook is Panthers -3 with a total of 41.5

It’s been an offseason of storylines for the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Coming off its third Super Bowl title, Denver’s spring and summer have been consumed largely surrounding Von Miller’s new contract and its quarterback situation as the 2016 season approaches. Miller’s MVP performance in the Super Bowl led a BroNCo attack that sacked Cam Newton 7 times. Miller signed a 6-year, $114.5 million contract in the offseason.

Peyton Manning, coming off his second Super Bowl victory, decided to leave the NFL on top. Talks were hot coNCerning whether or not Brock Osweiler deserved to be signed for big money after starting late in the 2015 season before Manning returned for the Broncos’ run to the Super Bowl. Osweiler ultimately signed a 4-year, $72 million deal with the Houston Texans.

That leaves Denver with a quarterback controversy heading into the season. Trevor Siemian has been named the starter for Denver’s third preseason Game at Los Angeles. Siemian played all of one snap — a kneel-down — in 2015 as the Broncos marched to its  Super Bowl. Battling with Siemian will be oft-ridiculed Mark SaNChez and rookie first-round pick Paxton LyNCh.

Whoever wins the job at quarterback will have two veteran receivers leading the way. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders return as Denver’s top two wide receivers from 2015. Thomas led the Broncos in both receptions (105) and yards (1,304), while both receivers recorded a team-leading 6 touchdown receptions.

Defensively, Denver had one of the best units in the NFL last season. Departing is Danny Trevathan, the Broncos’ leading tackler in 2015. However, Brandon Marshall, the only other BroNCo to reach triple digits in tackles (102) returns with Von Miller, spearheading the Denver defense.

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Cam Newton’s offseason dealt with ACCusations of being a sore loser after his post-Game press Conference with the Panthers’ loss. Newton is coming off clearly his best season in the NFL. He threw 35 touchdown passes last year, compared to only 10 interceptions. Previously, Newton had never thrown more than 24 touchdowns or thrown fewer than 12 interceptions in any season.

Newton also is joined by each of his top two leading receivers from last season. Tight end Greg Olsen returns with his 77 receptions for 1,104 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. Likewise Ted Ginn Jr. caught 44 passes for 739 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The scary part? Carolina’s passing attack should be even more difficult to slow down this coming season. That’s because Kelvin Benjamin is back from a year lost to tearing his left ACL. Benjamin was poised for what could have been a huge season with Newton in his second year in the league. As a rookie Benjamin was second on the team in receptions with 73 and tied Olsen for the most yards with 1,008. He also led the team in 2014 in with 9 touchdown receptions.

There was also contract controversy for the Panthers after their Super Bowl loss. Carolina was very close to resigning Josh Norman. That ultimately did not happen, as Norman left for Washington. Still, up the middle, the Panthers should be very good. They’re led defensively by tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei and fifth-year starting linebacker LUke Kuechly.

Carolina is a 3-point favorite at betonline sportsbook to open Week 1 at Denver. The Broncos had the fortune of being plus-2 in the turnover battle in the Super Bowl. Here’s to thinking that whether it’s Siemian, SaNChez or LyNCh in the opener, the Broncos will have a hard time being efficient offensively against the Panthers’ defense. The Broncos were out-GAined 315-194 in the Super Bowl. Turnovers were the true differeNCe-maker. Panthers -3

Pick: Panthers 24, Broncos 13

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