Denver Broncos v Carolina Panthers to start NFL season

Peyton Manning
Super Bowl 50 was the final game in then-Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's 18-year NFL career

Champions Denver Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers on the opening day of the 2016 NFL season in a rematch of February's Super Bowl.

The two sides will meet on 8 September at Sports Authority Field in Denver.

A superb defensive display earned the Broncos a 24-10 win and their third Super Bowl in the teams' last match.

The last time a season started with the teams that contested the Super Bowl was when the Kansas City Chiefs played the Minnesota Vikings in 1970.

"I think it's great," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's a big challenge for our team. It gets our attention really quick.

"We know that we're going to have to have a really good offseason."

The New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, who both fell a game short of Super Bowl 50, will also meet on the opening weekend at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The 17-week regular season is followed by the play-offs which are contested by 12 of the 32 teams and conclude with the Super Bowl.

London calling

For the third successive season, three games are being played in London.

Wembley will stage the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Indianapolis Colts on 2 October followed by the Cincinnati Bengals against the Washington Redskins on 30 October.

Twickenham hosts the Los Angeles Rams against the New York Giants on 23 October.

Kansas v Detroit in London
The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Detroit Lions 45-10 at Wembley in 2015

Since the first NFL game was staged at Wembley in 2007, all the teams involved in London matches have received a bye week afterwards to help them recover from their trans-Atlantic trip.

However this year, the Colts are due to host the Chicago Bears the week after playing at Wembley. The five other teams have been given the usual time off.

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