As you all are aware by now, Carolina Panthers football returns to your homes at 8:30 tonight (WCNC Charlotte). The matchup is a rematch of February's Super Bowl 51, which saw Peyton Manning and the Broncos walk away with the Lombardi Trophy.
Key matchup: Von Miller Vs. Mike Remmers. Even though Remmers had a solid season at right tackle for the Panthers a year ago, he was totally exposed by Von Miller on the biggest stage. Remmers will look to regain his reputation tonight.
Players to watch: Cam Newton - While this may seem like a boring choice, Newton has something to prove after a disappointing end to last year's season. While there are some who don't think Newton can keep pace with last season's number, many think he'll be in the MVP conversation each year in the foreseeable future. It will be interesting to see how Newton plays against the defense that caused the entire Panthers' offense so much trouble seven months ago.
James Bradberry - Most view the secondary as Carolina's only glaring weakness. While Tre Boston should be an upgrade over Roman Harper at safety, Bradberry will have bigger shoes to fill at cornerback. Now that Josh Norman plays for Washington, it is Bradberry's time to show the world his skills.
Kawaan Short - After a long offseason of contract negotiations, Short will get to put all that behind him and get after the quarterback again tonight. Given he's due for a pay day (from the Panthers or otherwise), he should be motivated to put up big numbers again this year.
Game prediction: It's hard for me to see the defending NFC Champions losing to a team with a quarterback with no experience, regardless of how good their defense might be. If the Panthers get back to their old mentality, which wasn't present in the Super Bowl, they should win by at least 10 points. Final Score: Panthers 27, Broncos: 19.
Editor-in-chief of The Charlotte Sports Blog