CHARLOTTE - The 2016 NFL season will begin with the same matchup that capped the 2015 season – in historically unique fashion.
The Carolina Panthers will visit the Denver Broncos on September 8 to kick off the season. The Thursday Night Football showdown will mark the first time in NFL history that the first game of the season has featured the teams that faced off in the Super Bowl the previous season. The Super Bowl IV champion Kansas City Chiefs visited the runner-up Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of the 1970 season, but that was a Sunday game after the season had kicked off Friday night.
"It's exciting for our players to compete on a national stage," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We have earned the right to be in the spotlight, and we have to take advantage of it. Every season presents challenges, and we are excited to get back to work."
The Broncos rematch will also mark the first time the Panthers have played in the first game of the NFL season and represents the first of a franchise record five primetime games – not surprising coming off a 15-1 season.
Carolina will host a pair of NFC South foes in primetime - Tampa Bay for Monday Night Football in Week 5 and New Orleans for Thursday Night Football in Week 11 – and the Panthers will visit Seattle for Sunday Night Football in Week 13 and Washington for Monday Night Football in Week 15.
The Panthers open their home schedule Week 2, welcoming the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Sept. 18. A limited number of single-game tickets for home games will go on sale April 30.
|Thu.||Aug. 11||at Baltimore Ravens||7:30 p.m.||Panthers TV|
|Sat.||Aug. 20||at Tennessee Titans||3:00 p.m.||Panthers TV|
|Fri.||Aug. 26||vs. New England Patriots||7:30 p.m.||Panthers TV|
|Thu.||Sept. 1||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||7:30 p.m.||Panthers TV|
|Thu.||Sept. 8||at Denver Broncos||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Sun.||Sept. 18||vs. San Francisco 49ers||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 25||vs. Minnesota Vikings||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 2||at Atlanta Falcons||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Mon.||Oct. 10||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sun.||Oct. 16||at New Orleans Saints||1:00 p.m.*||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 30||vs. Arizona Cardinals||4:25 p.m.*||FOX|
|Sun.||Nov. 6||at Los Angeles Rams||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Nov. 13||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|Thu.||Nov. 17||vs. New Orleans Saints||8:25 p.m.||NBC/NFL Network|
|Sun.||Nov. 27||at Oakland Raiders||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun.||Dec. 4||at Seattle Seahawks||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Sun.||Dec. 11||vs. San Diego Chargers||1:00 p.m.*||FOX|
|Mon.||Dec. 19||at Washington Redskins||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat.||Dec. 24||vs. Atlanta Falcons||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Jan. 1||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|* - Subject to flexible scheduling.*|
The Panthers could end up making more Sunday primetime appearances under the league's flex scheduling policy, which allows a time change for a total of two NFL games between Weeks 5-9 and for many more games from Weeks 10-15 and 17. Flex scheduling will not affect games already scheduled for Thursday, Saturday and Monday nights.
View photos of opposing teams the Panthers will face during the 2016 season.