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NFL 2016: Broncos and Panthers Kick Off Season
The NFL 2016 season begins with the NFL's annual primetime kickoff game. The opener features the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos hosting the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50.
It's time to get "Back to Football!"
The NFL 2016 season begins with the NFL's annual primetime kickoff game. The opener on Thursday, September 8 on NBC (8:30 PM ET) will feature the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos hosting the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50. The game marks the first Super Bowl rematch played on Kickoff Weekend since 1970 (Kansas City vs. Minnesota).
NFL Kickoff Games Since 2002
|Sep 5, 2002||Giants Stadium||49ers 16, GIANTS 13||San Francisco kicker Jose Cortez kicks a 36-yard field goal with six seconds remaining to lead the 49ers to victory in the NFL's first Thursday-night opener since 1949|
|Sep 4, 2003||FedExField||WASHINGTON 16, Jets 13||Washington kicker John Hall converts a game winning 50-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift the Redskins past his former team|
|Sep 9, 2004||Gillette Stadium||PATRIOTS 27, Colts 24||Tom Brady passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns as the defending Super Bowl champions defeat the Colts|
|Sep 8, 2005||Gillette Stadium||PATRIOTS 30, Raiders 20||Tom Brady throws for 306 yards and two touchdowns while running back Corey Dillon adds two scores for the defending Super Bowl champions|
|Sep 7, 2006||Heinz Field||STEELERS 28, Miami 17||Pittsburgh QB Charlie Batch passes for three touchdowns and running back Willie Parker adds 115 yards as the defending Super Bowl champions defeat Miami|
|Sep 6, 2007||RCA Dome||COLTS 41, Saints 10||Super Bowl champion Colts rack up 452 yards of offense as quarterback Peyton Manning passes for 288 yards and three TDs|
|Sep 4, 2008||Giants Stadium||GIANTS 16, Washington 7||Eli Manning scores a touchdown and the Giants' defense allows just 209 total yards as the defending Super Bowl champions defeat division-rival Washington|
|Sep 10, 2009||Heinz Field||STEELERS 13, Titans 10 (OT)||Pittsburgh's Jeff Reed kicks a 33-yard game winning field goal in overtime as the defending Super Bowl champions defeat Tennessee|
|Sep 9, 2010||Superdome||SAINTS 14, Vikings 9||Drew Brees throws for 237 yards and a touchdown to lead the Saints past the Vikings in a rematch of the 2009 NFC Championship Game|
|Sep 8, 2011||Lambeau Field||PACKERS 42, Saints 34||Aaron Rodgers passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns and the Packers' defense makes a goal-line stand on the game's final play as the defending Super Bowl champions defeat the Saints|
|Sep 5, 2012||MetLife Stadium||Cowboys 24, GIANTS 17||Tony Romo throws for 307 yards and three TDs, including two to Kevin Ogletree, as the Cowboys defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Giants|
|Sep 5, 2013||Sports Authority Field||BRONCOS 49, Ravens 27||Peyton Manning ties an NFL single-game record with seven TD passes as the Broncos knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens|
|Sep 4, 2014||CenturyLink Field||SEATTLE 36, Green Bay 16||Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson throws two TDs while running back Marshawn Lynch rushes for 110 yards and two scores as the defending champion Seahawks win at home.|
|Sep 10, 2015||Gillette Stadium||NEW ENGLAND 28, Pittsburgh||21 New England quarterback Tom Brady throws four touchdown passes as the defending champion Patriots defeat the Steelers.|
NFL Kickoff 2015 Schedule
(All times local)
Carolina at Denver, 6:30 PM (Thurs., NBC)
Cleveland at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM
Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 1:00 PM
Minnesota at Tennessee, 12:00 PM
Buffalo at Baltimore, 1:00 PM
Miami at Seattle, 1:05 PM
Chicago at Houston, 12:00 PM
New York Giants at Dallas, 3:25 PM
Green Bay at Jacksonville, 1:00 PM
Detroit at Indianapolis, 4:25 PM
San Diego at Kansas City, 12:00 PM
New England at Arizona, 5:30 PM (NBC)
Oakland at New Orleans, 12:00 PM
Cincinnati at New York Jets, 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh at Washington, 7:10 PM (Mon., ESPN)
Los Angeles at San Francisco, 7:20 PM (Mon., ESPN)
Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:
Of the 554 teams which won openers, 288 went to the playoffs (173 won division titles).
Of the 555 teams which lost openers, 134 went to the playoffs (77 won division titles).
Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season opening games due to the fact the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999 to 2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.
In 2015, seven of the 12 playoff teams -- Arizona, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay, Kansas City and New England -- were victorious on Kickoff Weekend.
NFL 2016 Kickoff Weekend Notes
Kickoff Weekend begins on Thursday, September 8 in primetime on NBC when the defending-champion Denver Broncos host the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl 50 rematch. It marks the first Super Bowl rematch played on Kickoff Weekend since 1970 (Kansas City-Minnesota).
Some NFL teams have excelled in their season openers. Here is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:
The Super Bowl 50 champion DENVER BRONCOS, who start the season at home against Carolina, have posted a 42-13-1 (.764) record in home openers, the top mark in the NFL. Denver has won 22 of its past 25 home openers.
The NFC champion CAROLINA PANTHERS start the season on the road at Denver on Thursday night of Kickoff Weekend having won their past two openers on the road, tied for the second-longest active streak in the league.
The AFC East champion NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who travel to Arizona on Sunday Night Football, have a 16-4 record on the road against NFC teams over the past 10 seasons. The Patriots have the fifth-most Kickoff Weekend wins among AFC teams (31).
The AFC South champion HOUSTON TEXANS, who open the season hosting Chicago, have won five of their past six home openers.
The NFC West champion ARIZONA CARDINALS, who host New England on Kickoff Weekend, have the third-longest current winning streak among NFC teams in home openers (six).
The NFC East champion WASHINGTON REDSKINS and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS start the season at home against Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, respectively, during a Monday Night Football doubleheader. Washington has 48 wins in home openers -- the fifth-most amongst NFC teams -- while San Francisco has won 14 of its past 20 home openers.
The GREEN BAY PACKERS, who travel to Jacksonville on Kickoff Weekend, hold the record for the most wins in road openers (54) and the second-best winning percentage in openers on the road (.581, 54-39-2).
The PITTSBURGH STEELERS, who travel to Washington on Monday night of Kickoff Weekend, have the most wins (41) among AFC teams on Kickoff Weekend.
The ATLANTA FALCONS, who host Tampa Bay to open the 2016 campaign, have won eight consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the NFL
The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, who host Miami on Kickoff Weekend, have won seven consecutive home openers, the second-longest streak in the league
The NEW YORK JETS host Cincinnati on Kickoff Weekend having won five consecutive home openers, the longest active streak among AFC teams
The CHICAGO BEARS (65-27-4), who host Philadelphia in Week 2 on Monday Night Football, have a .707 winning percentage in home openers, the second-best mark in the NFL
The DALLAS COWBOYS begin the year by hosting the New York Giants with a 38-17-1 (.691) record in openers at home, the fourth-best winning percentage in NFL history.
New England's BILL BELICHICK is 14-7 (.667) on Kickoff Weekend and his 14 wins are the most among active head coaches
Belichick and Los Angeles' JEFF FISHER (12-8; .600) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games and own an opening weekend winning percentage above .500
Denver's GARY KUBIAK (6-3) and Buffalo's REX RYAN (6-1) have each won five consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches
TODD BOWLES (1-0) of the Jets, HUE JACKSON (1-0) of Cleveland and DAN QUINN (1-0) of the Falcons are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend
Four head coaches -- Miami's ADAM GASE, Tampa Bay's DIRK KOETTER, the Giants' BEN MC ADOO and Philadelphia's DOUG PEDERSON -- make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2016.