The last time Denver played Carolina, it was in Super Bowl 50 and the Broncos won 24-10.
These same teams open the NFL season Thursday night, and Frank Garcia expects a very different result.
“Same organizations, but two different teams,” the former Panthers offensive lineman and current Charlotte WFNZ radio host said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “This is going to be a completely different team than the one we saw last year. They don’t have Peyton Manning. Everybody says, ‘Well, we don’t have Josh Norman.’ Well, who’s the bigger loss? If you can’t see that Peyton Manning is the bigger loss – regardless of what the stats were and (given) what he meant to that team and that organization and how hard that team fought for him – then you don’t know anything about sports. That’s going to be the difference. These guys aren’t going to be playing for the quarterback that’s going to be out there . . . like they did for Peyton Manning. They played for Peyton Manning, and it was a different game.”
The quarterback that’s going to be out there is Trevor Siemian, who has never thrown a pass in the NFL. Compare that to Cam Newton, who last year accounted for 45 touchdowns (35 pass, 10 rush) and was named league MVP.
“Cam Newton, I think, is coming into his own,” Garcia said. “I think he can trust his team. I really do. I trust him. Being a competitive guy like Cam Newton is, this has kind of sat in his craw all offseason. You’re chomping at the bit to get out there and prove to the entire world that after that press conference and the way that game went down and people questioning whether you’re falling on the fumble, he’s going to go out there and he’s going to play. That’s going to be the difference in this game. It’s going to be Cam Newton.”
Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET.