Ladies and gentleman! The 2016 NFL season is fast approaching. Almost time for tail gating, trash talking, surprise seasons, disappointing seasons, break out players and much, much more. From now up until that sweet Sunday Kickoff I’ll be choosing the “must-see” match-ups for each NFL week. This week we start off with a good old SB 50 rematch coming up in week 1.
Last time we saw these two teams Peyton Manning was walking off in the sunset with his second SB ring, Von Miller hoisting the SB MVP award and Cam Newton walking out on a post-game interview. Fast forward to June 2016 and a lot has changed, at least for the defending champs. Denver watched Brock Osweiler, Danny Trevathan, and Malik Jackson walk out the door for nice pay days. It also doesn’t help the fact that Von Miller is threatening a hold of the 2016 season unless he gets paid top dollar. But the biggest question is “Can the defense still do enough to carry the team even when Von Miller inevitably returns?” The good news is I don’t think Von Miller will hold out the season and they still have a pretty good LB in Brandon Marshall, the other Brandon Marshall that is.
Carolina on the other hand locked LT Michael Oher to a 3 year deal and resigned Paul Soliai, DE Charles Johnson and RB Mike Tolbert. Some may think the biggest transaction was CB Josh Norman being allowed to walk in free agency but Carolina obviously believes that someone can fill that role immediately, especially with how dominant the front 7 is. Cam Newton is healthy and Carolina brings back pretty much everyone from last year.
Despite all off Denver’s losses in free agency, I still view this as the must see match-up in week 1. I don’t believe for one second Von Miller actually would actually be willing to miss a game. Millers hold out will end with either them getting a deal done making him maybe the highest paid player or he’ll play on the tag. With Miller looking to give Cam Newton flashbacks of the nightmares he put him through in the Super Bowl and Cam looking to exact revenge on a somewhat different but still dominant Denver defense this match-up will live up to the hype. What’s not to like about getting a chance to get a little payback on the team that shattered your story book season in the end? Look for this match-up to be hard hitting and Superman dabbing fun, and deliver on what us football fans like to see! As of this moment I have Carolina taking advantage of a Peyton-less Denver and just slightly weaker defense and pulling this one out. But it’s early, opinions could change after training camp and preseason when we get a chance to see what rosters will look like but for now…
By Lawrence Edwards