Super Bowl rematch opens 2016 NFL schedule

The NFL’s 2016 season will open with a rematch of the Super Bowl 50 teams.

The NFL is kicking off its 2016 season with the two teams that finished the 2015 season in the Super Bowl – the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.

As the NFL released its 2016 regular-season schedule on Thursday night, it didn’t waste any time getting to the big games. The Broncos, who beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, will host Carolina at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 8 in the annual Thursday night prime-time kickoff to the season. It is the first Super Bowl rematch in Week 1 since 1970.

Week 2 will mark the return of the Rams to Los Angeles as they host Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the late afternoon game Sept. 18, followed by the Minnesota Vikings opening their home schedule in the new U.S. Bank Stadium against the division rival Green Bay Packers in the Sunday night game on NBC.

Thanksgiving will feature a tripleheader on Nov. 24, starting with the Detroit Lions hosting the Vikings in the early afternoon game on CBS, the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Washington Redskins in the late afternoon game on FOX, and the Indianapolis Colts hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the night game on NBC.

Christmas weekend will feature 12 games on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year, culminating with the night game featuring the Cincinnati Bengals at the Houston Texans on NFL Network. Two games will be played on Christmas Day – the Baltimore Ravens at the Steelers in the late afternoon game on NFL Network and the Broncos at the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night on NBC. The final Monday Night Football game of the season is Dec. 26, when the Cowboys host the Lions.

Week 17 features 16 divisional matchups, with the final Sunday Night Football game of the regular season to be determined. The Sunday night games in Week 5-15 are subject to change, per the NFL’s flexible scheduling rule.

The playoffs start with Wild Card Weekend on Jan. 7-8, 2017, with the divisional round the following weekend. The AFC and NFC Championships are on Jan. 22 with Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

New this year is all Thursday night games being streamed live on Twitter.

The International Series of games will feature three games in London – the Jacksonville Jaguars and Colts on Oct. 2, the Rams and New York Giants on Oct. 23, and the Bengals and Redskins on Oct. 30 – but the NFL will also return to Mexico City on Nov. 21 when the Oakland Raiders host the Texans in the first Monday Night Football game to played outside of the United States.

For analysis on the schedules for specific teams, visit the NFL team sites on Scout.

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