The Panthers will take on the Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. The scheduled kickoff is Thursday, September 8th at 8:30 PM. ET.
The last time Carolina and Denver faced off, the Bronco’s defense was in rarified form on their way to a Super Bowl victory. The old adage ‘defense wins’ championships’ is universally accepted; having a good enough offense is also important. The Broncos offense was bad last year. Particularly, the passing game; yet they still won it all.
Last year, the Broncos were one of the worst passing offenses in the league. A lot of that was the play of their quarterback, Peyton Manning. Fast forward one year. Manning retired and Brock Osweiler, Manning’s former back up, will suit up for the Houston Texans.
In steps former 7th round pick Trevor Siemian. It’s unusual, to say the least, to have a defending Super Bowl champion start such an unproven player at the quarterback position. Performances in the preseason are often overblown. Average players play other average players and they look great. That said, Siemian did display an ability to make throws to his receivers both open and covered. The Broncos have said they won’t hold Siemian back in the offense, and that’s a serious nod of confidence to the first time starter.
On the other side of the line is Cam Newton. Last year, Newton had a career year. He threw for 35 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Newton is a generational athlete who’s coming into his prime. This year, he should continue to progress upon his already elite offensive production.
However, one area of concern is his completion percentage. While Newton threw for nearly four thousand yards, his completion percentage was around 60% last season. That’s about his career average.
Against the Broncos in the Super Bowl, Newton completed a dismal 44% of his passes. That’s not the only game where Newton’s completion percentage was suspect. Newton recorded a completion percentage below 60% in ten regular season games. In four of those games, Newton’s completion percentage was 50% or below.
Now granted, the Panthers only lost one game last year during the regular season. But, if any defense can exploit Cam Newton’s weakness, it’s this Broncos team. The Denver defense is going to load the box and play man-to-man defense. Newton will need to complete passes into tight windows while facing heavy pressure from Von Miller and company. Newton will not have a lot of time to find open targets. That means he will need to make perfect throws to beat a secondary that is virtually unchanged since the Super Bowl.
The Broncos offense will also have to face a strong Panther’s defense. Siemian and the Broncos’ coaching staff will need to plan for defensive player of the year candidate Luke Kuechly. One player the Broncos won’t need to worry about is Josh Norman. With the outspoken Norman no longer on the roster, the Panthers are going with youth at the corner position. The Broncos have a pair of elite receivers. Expect the Broncos to test the young corners early and often.
Cam Newton is unequivocally the best quarterback in this matchup, but Newton still has to face Denver’s defense. There wasn’t a lot of talent at the quarterback position last year for the Broncos, but their defense still managed to dominate a 15-1 Panthers squad in the Super Bowl.
Broncos Vs Panthers Betting Lines
BetOnline.ag has the Panthers favored to win the game by 3 points. The over/under on total points scored is 41.5. You can read our full BetOnline review here.
Playing in Denver is one of the toughest venues in the NFL. The Panthers look poised to get revenge; their offense is superior to last year. There’s no way Denver will offensively hang with Carolina come Thursday. But, haven’t we been here before? Should anyone really underestimate the Bronco’s defense? Carolina might have the reigning league MVP, but Denver is playing at home in their first game as defending champions. Siemian will surprise some people and the Broncos defense will pick up where they left off.
Play: Broncos +3 @ BetOnline.ag
broncos • NFL Betting Pick • panthers