Panthers open NFL season with a Super Bowl rematch

The 2016 regular season will start just like the playoffs ended in February.

The Panthers and Broncos open on Thursday night, Sept. 8 in Denver, a rematch of Super Bowl 50, won by the Broncos 24-10. That's the first of five primetime games featuring the reigning NFC champs.

It is the first Super Bowl rematch on opening weekend since 1970, when Minnesota beat champion Kansas City 27-10.

"It's exciting for our players to compete on a national stage," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "We have earned the right to be in the spotlight and we have to take advantage of it."

The Seahawks, who the Panthers stepped over on the way to the Big Game, will get a shot at revenge on Sunday Night Football in early December. This will be the seventh meeting between the two squads over a four year span.

Carolina will also play twice on Monday night football. They'll host Tampa Bay in October and visit Washington on MNF in December. There is also a second Thursday game against New Orleans.

The middle stretch looks particularly daunting with three west coast trips over a five week span. That includes Seattle, which will surely be taxing.

The regular season wraps on Christmas Eve against the Falcons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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