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Why Tonight's Game is Not a Big Deal

posted Sep 8, 2016, 4:59 AM by Austin James
The NFL is taking a page out of the NBA's book having the Super Bowl rematch be the first game of the 2016 season. Its a pretty obvious grab for ratings for the Thursday night match-up on the NFL's own network, and, in theory, it is a good idea. However, in today's NFL, this game is not nearly as big as it seems.

Let's start with the obvious. The Broncos have a new face of their franchise. Von Miller is taking over for Peyton Manning as "the guy" in Denver. The Broncos are going to go through a learning curve at the QB position and everyone knows it. There isn't going to a single shocked fan if Denver can't throw the ball; they are starting second year QB Trevor Siemian, who has never thrown a pass in the NFL. Nobody is expecting him to come out and throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs the way we expected Manning to.
On the other side, the biggest hothead in Charlotte is gone. CB Josh Norman is gone, and you have to think that if he was still on the roster he would add a certain chippy-ness to the game. Cam Newton is still going to be loud and piss people off, but they aren't going to have that enforcer on the perimeter like they did last year.

Also, this obviously isn't a divisional game for either team, meaning there is plenty of time to recover from a week 1 loss. This game is going to be big for Denver's offense to see how their new QB fits into the equation, and it is going to be big for Carolina's secondary, specifically at the corner position, to see how they have filled the holes created this offseason.

If I'm a Carolina fan, of course I want some revenge for last year's Super Bowl, but a win isn't going to be completely satisfying because you still won't have beaten 18. If I'm a Broncos fan and I see Siemian throw for 200 yards, a TD, and no picks in a loss, I'm fine with the team moving forward. My point: this game isn't as important as it is being played up to be.