Panthers-Broncos preview

Much has changed since the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, and the evidence will be undeniable when the same teams kick off the 2016 season Thursday at Sports Authority Field.

Denver's win in Santa Clara, Calif., was a coming-out party for linebacker Von Miller, the Super Bowl MVP, who made life miserable for regular-season MVP Cam Newton and the Panthers.

Related: Cam Newton rises above Super Bowl 50 loss in new Gatorade ad

Since that defining performance, Miller became the highest-paid player on the Broncos' roster - and the top-paid defender in the league. In addition, five-time league MVP Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos lost his backup Brock Osweiler in free agency and cut Mark Sanchez, the player acquired in March to become Denver's starter.

What's left is most of the core of Denver's defense, which harassed Newton and the Panthers into mistakes and missteps from start to finish in February.

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