League's 2016 schedule opens with Super Bowl rematch

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NFL season to kick off with Super Bowl rematch

(The Sports Xchange) - The 2016 NFL season will kick off with a Super Bowl 50 rematch between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers on Thursday, Sept. 8, at Sports Authority Field in Denver.

The 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule, which concludes on Jan. 1 with 16 division games, was released by the National Football League on Thursday.

The Broncos-Panthers game is the first Super Bowl rematch on the opening weekend of the season since 1970 when the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings met.

"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. We've got some changes going on with our football team, but our standard will be the same. We'll look forward to it."

Also on the opening weekend schedule is a clash between conference championship game participants New England and Arizona on Sunday night, Sept. 11.

The Patriots have not played the Cardinals on the road since 2004 and never at University of Phoenix Stadium, where New England has appeared twice in Super Bowls.

In Week 2, the Rams will play their first regular-season game in Los Angeles since moving back from St. Louis after last season, facing off against the Seattle Seahawks in a Sunday afternoon start.

The Minnesota Vikings open their new U.S. Bank Stadium in a Sunday night game during Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers. Minnesota is seeking back-to-back NFC North titles, which was last accomplished by the Vikings in 2008-09.

The annual Thanksgiving tripleheader on Thursday, Nov. 24, features the Vikings against the Detroit Lions in the opener, the Washington Redskins at the Dallas Cowboys and then the Indianapolis Colts playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the nightcap.

Most Week 16 games will be played on Christmas Eve with the exception of the Steelers-Baltimore Ravens and the Chiefs-Broncos games on Christmas Day, which falls on a Sunday.

The league's three games in London will be the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Colts on Oct. 2 at Wembley Stadium, the Rams against the New York Giants on Oct. 23 at Twickenham Stadium, and the Cincinnati Bengals against the Redskins on Oct. 30 at Wembley.

On Nov. 21, the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans will travel to Mexico City for the first Monday night game to be played outside the United States.

NFL STARS WHO RETIRED THIS OFFSEASON:

27 PHOTOS
NFL players who retired over the 2016 offseason
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League's 2016 schedule opens with Super Bowl rematch
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 17: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on before the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
✌🏿 https://t.co/wesip4IhOR
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Jerod Mayo #51 of the New England Patriots reacts after he sacked Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins in the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
RETIRING A PATRIOT.
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 27, 2015: Tight end Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches the action from the sideline during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 27, 2015 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 20-17. (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
After 11 seasons and two Lombardi trophies, Heath Miller retires in Black & Gold. 📰 | https://t.co/rUr3Yf1XPd https://t.co/RWH0yFgWab
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 25: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions looks on from the sidelines during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on October 25, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Vikings defeated the Lions 28-19. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)
Calvin Johnson retires from the National Football League: https://t.co/8YgcYxLjNS https://t.co/IdC1yIMX8R
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 25: Jared Allen #69 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after a sack of Sam Bradford #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 27-16. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Riding off into the sunset https://t.co/wZXovseGKS
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 8: Corey Wootton #99 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the fourth quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders on August 8, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 10-6. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Thank you all for the support! https://t.co/wHQqWkAirF
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 07: Logan Mankins #70 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to the start of the game gainst the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 7, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Buccaneers 34-17. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Ex-#Patriots & #Bucs G Logan Mankins was tough, nasty, played through the whistle… and is a great dude when the play ends. One of a kind.
JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 13: Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Indianapolis Colts drops back to pass during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 13, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Colts 51-16. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
It has been an honor and a pleasure. https://t.co/P9dnvll0EP https://t.co/69DlIa9W1y
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 22: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) D'Brickashaw Ferguson #60 of the New York Jets greets fans after a game against the Cleveland Browns on December 22, 2013 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Browns 24-13. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Thank you for the numerous messages of support. It has been a blessing to be apart of the NYJ. My letter to you https://t.co/hcIRk41QtM
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24: Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett #90 of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the preseason NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
To the founder of the #BirdGang, @ddockett, congrats on a great career! #ThanksNineO WATCH»https://t.co/4NIBDcOr8K https://t.co/h0yNiF72UT
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Percy Harvin #18 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a touchdown reception against the Indianapolis Colts on September 13, 2015 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats Indianapolis 27-14. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Percy Harvin told the Bills he is retiring, per source.
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 18: Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette #83 of the Seattle Seahawks gestures to the crowd during the game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on October 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
I just wanted to make my teammates, family, & The 12th Man proud!!!! #weallwegot
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2016, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waves to spectators following the AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, in Denver. A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press on Sunday, March 6, that Manning has informed the Denver Broncos he's going to retire. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Thank you, Peyton, and congratulations on your magnificent 18-year NFL career! https://t.co/YdMt19tQ2i https://t.co/jYDXpMmlUA
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