The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl so per tradition they will kick off the first game next season at home. The Thursday Night opener is in primetime on Thursday night so the league and the TV networks want to get the best matchup that will bring in the most viewers. Unfortunately for the Kansas City Chiefs, there is plenty of competition for that game and it doesn't sound like it will be the Chiefs playing the Broncos.
The Sports Business Journal reports the top contenders for the game are the Panthers, which would make it a Super Bowl rematch, and the Patriots, which would make it an AFC Championship game rematch. No mention of the Chiefs.
SBJ reports that a Panthers-Broncos matchup is "more likely, as CBS likely will fight harder to keep the marquee Patriots-Broncos game than Fox will for a Panthers-Broncos rematch that does not have Manning."
It's going to be a weird game because Peyton Manning probably won't be playing, which means it wouldn't be a Brady-Manning game. And if it's the Panthers, does a Newton-Osweiler matchup intrigue you? Yeah, me neither.
The NFL schedule should be out in April.
Here are all the possibilities for the game:
New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs