The 2016 NFL season is almost upon us ... we just have several months, the NFL Draft, organized team activities, various minicamps of both voluntary and mandatory nature, training camp proper and finally the preseason before the regular season. The NFL is really milking its announcements in between all of those events though, holding a three-hour schedule release show on Thursday to announce the full regular season schedule.
But with that show hours away, some leaks are starting to come out. As expected, the Denver Broncos will play host to the Carolina Panthers next season, but their game will be the season opener on Thursday Night Football to open the season, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.
The Broncos took down the Panthers in the Super Bowl, and it will be the first proper look at Cam Newton since he struggled in the big game and struggled even further in the press conference afterward.
Below, we're going to compile all the schedule leaks that come out prior to the actual show getting underway:
Minnesota opens new stadium against old rivals
The Minnesota Vikings will play a road game in Week 1, because they will play host to the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers in their new stadium, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. A home opener against the Packers is probably the best way the Vikings could open U.S. Bank Stadium, provided they do get away with a win.
On top of that, the Packers will play host to the Bears on Thursday Night Football on Oct. 20, also according to Demovsky.
It seems like that game against the Packers may be a prime time game and if it is, they'll get another one in Week 4 when they host the New York Giants, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. The Vikings will also have a prime time game against the Chicago Bears on the road on Halloween, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN. Finally, the Vikings will take on the Detroit Lions on the road to kick off a Thanksgiving tripleheader, according to Pro Football Talk.
Washington gets prime time in Week 1
Washington will play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football in Week 1, according to Chick Hernandez of CSN Washington. Washington would like to be in the news a lot less given how much turmoil they've had over the last several seasons, but it's a high profile start to their season.
Jets will open at home, go on tough road trip
The New York Jets will open their regular season on Sept. 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. It will be a home game for the Jets, who will then play six of their next eight games on the road, a potentially brutal start to their season.
Rex Ryan will face former team in Week 17, and more Jets misery
Not only do the Jets have the tough road trip mentioned above, but they also have back-to-back short weeks in December, when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 5, visit the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 11 and host the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 17. Finally, the Jets will close out their regular season at home against Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills, all according to Slater.
Broncos among the teams on Christmas Day
The Kansas City Chiefs will play host to the Broncos on Christmas Day, according to MIke Klis of 9News. It's one of two games on Christmas, and will be the evening matchup.
Whoops! Patriots schedule unveiled early
Good one, NFL Network.
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