The Mile High Report staff gives their score predictions for the Week 1 of the 2016 NFL Season between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. It's the defending Super Bowl champions against the defending Super Bowl losers. A rematch that hasn't happened in Week 1 of a regular season since 1970.
The consensus score for this game is Broncos 22, Panthers 15. We seem to really believe in this Broncos defense and have a little bit of faith that the Broncos offense will be marginally improved over last season.
Broncos 20, Panthers 13
Broncos defense provides another indirect touchdown by giving the offense a short field like in Super Bowl 50. Trevor Siemian exploits the rookie corners of the Panthers while Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both have great games as we move the chains with an efficient, but not flashy, passing game since the Panthers stacked the box to stop C.J. Anderson. - Joe Mahoney
Broncos 20, Panthers 13
This game is a defensive battle through and through. Denver Will harass Cam Newton, and stuff the run throughout the game. The offense will hold onto the ball, playing a field position battle. With the field position battle firmly in the hands of the Broncos, Trevor Siemian will have the opportunity to lead some short drives, and utilize the talents around him. Demaryius Thomas will catch a touchdown pass to end the first half, and Virgil Green will add another late in the third quarter. Brandon McManus will add a couple field goals. The magic number is 17, and the Broncos will crest that threshold, while the defense will keep Carolina out of the end zone until garbage time late in the 4th. - Adam Malnati
Broncos 20, Panthers 17
The Panthers are like the 2013 Broncos and the Broncos play the role of the Baltimore Ravens. They're pissed, seeking revenge, and won't be overlooking the Broncos this time around. They will be coming out to embarrass the Broncos at their house in front of America.
So will this happen?
The Broncos defense is still great and will be keeping close. The Panthers do get back their 6'5" number one receiver, Kelvin Benjamin. He is a matchup nightmare and may cause the defense some fits. Cam will likely make some plays and point some points on the board, but the Broncos defense will keep it close and may even put their own points on the board.
It all comes down to Trevor Siemian and the Broncos offense. You know the Panthers are going to take away the running game and make Siemian who is making his first career start beat them with his arm. Can he? I sure hope so or the Broncos are likely starting 0-1.
Don't screw this up Siemian. - Scotty Payne
Broncos 27, Panthers 17
Most in Broncos Country remember the playoff rematch of 2013 where the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens came into Denver and got handed a plate of good ole-fashioned behind the wood shed tail-whooping handed to them to the tune of a 7 TD passes and one of the most lopsided season openers in recent Bronco history. Some even say it is our turn this year.
I say, keep your pants on. We aren't a joke of a team that got handed our trophy on the coattails of friendly referee calls and hope and prayer plays that just so happened to connect.
This Bronco team is built to play dominating defense and crush the hopes of the opponents. I do respect the Carolina offense and think they are better this year than the team we met in the Super Bowl. That being said, our offense is going to be better as well. Look for a respectable run game and sustained drives from a Gary Kubiak offense in year 2 of its implementation. - Sadaraine
Broncos 24, Panthers 13
The Broncos are excited to get their championship-defending season underway and despite the bumps and bruises along the way of the offseason, all that will be tossed aside by Thursday. The Super Bowl champions will come out on fire in prime time to prove to the Panthers and the NFL, we can beat them in Cali, we can beat them at home; we can beat them with a Hall-of-Famer or we can beat them with an unknown; but we will not, WILL NOT leave Cam Newton alone. Broncos via the Von Miller sacking machine and a No Fly Zone pick six, win 24-13. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Broncos 27, Panthers 13
We've heard the narrative now for 2+ months, "The Broncos have no quarterback!" FALSE! The Broncos do have a quarterback. Do you all know who it is? Who that quarterback is who can replace Peyton Manning? When trying to figure out who the quarterback is that will lead this team to back to back world championships, look no further than the salary cap. Yes, 2+ months ago everyone was pounding the table to pay this player QB money. "He's earned QB money" we heard. "He's better than what we had at QB last year" people were screaming. Well, he signed his contract and he's making QB money. So, without further adieu, I present to you not Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, but Von Miller as the Denver Broncos starting QB for the 2016 season. If that man is paid QB money, then that man must lift this team up and impact the game as much as Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, etc. To make the money, you gotta deliver on that money. So rest easy Broncos faithful, because we have the #2 overall pick and mega-star playing this game's most vital of positions; Just like you all wanted it for the last 6 months! And with that, it's time to eat greedy and destroy some fools. Let the new reign of terror begin! - Pete Baron
Broncos 16, Panthers 13
I’ve gone back-and-forth with this for the last week. I haven’t been this confused since I watched "Fight Club" for the first time and got smacked in the face with the climax of the story. I’m torn because this offense has the potential to be bad. As in really, really bad. And this has nothing to do with the "meh" quarterback under center. This is about the Broncos offensive line that was manhandled by the Los Angeles Rams like kale at a hippy convention. The Broncos face a similar front seven in the opener, only this one is better and won’t get taken out after the first quarter.
"Their front seven is as good as I have ever coached against. They are exceptional," Gary Kubiak said this week.
Given what we saw against the Rams, this could get ugly quick. But then there’s that Denver defense. The defense that will be better than it was last season. Can the offense do anything short of three-and-out and punt? Commit turnovers and give out pick-sixes like they’re Halloween candy? Therein lies the dilemma. I have no faith in this offense, but at home, in the NFL opener, I have to go with that defense. We'll see both teams get defensive TDs in this game. - Ian St. Clair
Broncos 24, Panthers 13
I have legitimate concerns about the long-term viability of Trevor Siemian at quarterback, but the Panthers are starting two rookie cornerbacks and the Broncos have a running game. If he is going to have a good game, it should be this one in front of a home crowd. Frankly, I need him to have a good game. It’s what will help me start to see what others apparently see in him. I also need him to have a good game, because I want the Broncos to win.
The Broncos defense should get the job done as well. In the last 48 hours, I’ve gone from a Broncos loss to a Broncos win. It’s always time to homer up when a real game is now upon us. - Tim Lynch
What are your score predictions? Let us know in the comments section.