DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos 2016 schedule is now official; the world champions know who they have to play and when in their quest to repeat.

The Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos are celebrated at a rally on the steps of the Denver City and County Building on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos are celebrated at a rally on the steps of the Denver City and County Building on February 9, 2016. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It starts with a rematch of the Super Bowl. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will come to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to face the Broncos and the defense led by Von Miller.

The Broncos have five primetime games this season — including a Thursday Night Football game on CBS4 on Oct. 13 against the Chargers — and a late bye week.

Week 1: Broncos vs. Panthers, Thurs. Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Carolina Panthers Denver Broncos Logo

The Broncos defeated the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 by a score of 24-10. This is the first time the Panthers have played a game in the Mile High City since 2004. The Broncos lead the overall series between the two teams 4-1.

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak believes his team is ready for another match against the Panthers, “I think it’s great. 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.”

Week 2: Broncos vs. Colts, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2:25 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Indianapolis Colts Denver Broncos LogoWeek 3: Broncos at Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m. Paul Brown Stadium

Broncos Bengals LogoWeek 4: Broncos at Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2:05 p.m. Raymond James Stadium

Denver Broncos Tampa Bay Buccaneers logo

Executive V.P. of Football Operations John Elway believes this schedule works well for both the team and Broncos fans, “I think it’s a great schedule for our fans. If you look at the home schedule, there are a lot of great football teams coming in. The bye week falls well for us—late in the year. We have kind of a semi-bye when we have San Diego on Thursday night (Week 6). We have Houston on the following Monday night, so we have a break there. I think it’s a good schedule. The bottom line is you have to play them as they come anyway. It’s always nice to have it out though to see what the upcoming year looks like.”

Week 5: Broncos vs. Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2:05 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Denver Broncos Atlanta Falcons logoWeek 6: Broncos at Chargers, Thurs. Oct. 13, 6:25 p.m. Qualcomm Stadium

Broncos San Diego Chargers Logo

This Thursday Night Football game on CBS4 marks the first matchup against an AFC West opponent.

Week 7: Broncos vs. Texans, Monday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Texans Bronos Logo

The return of quarterback Brock Osweiler will take place in late October on Monday Night Football. How many times will Von Miller sack Brock?

“It will be nice to have Brock come back here. They are a good football team. They are going to be a team that’s going to compete for the AFC. With Indy coming in, New England coming in, Carolina coming in and Houston coming in—we have a lot of top-notch teams coming in,” said Elway.

Week 8: Broncos vs. Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2:05 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Chargers Broncos LogoWeek 9: Broncos at Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 6, 6:30 p.m. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Broncos Raiders LogoWeek 10: Broncos at Saints, Sunday, Nov. 13, 11 a.m. Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Denver Broncos New Orleans Saints logoWeek 11: Bye Week

The Broncos bye comes late this season. Kubiak believes this could be a good opportunity for the team.

“We’ve got a couple of breaks in there. That’s one of the things that I look at. We’ve got a couple of Thursday games with the opener. We’ve got another one late. Our bye week is kind of late, too. It gives you a chance as a coach to get players a little bit of a break, your coaches a little bit of a break. We’ll start to work around those things. I know one thing: you play one a week. That is the most important thing—being the best you can be,” said Kubiak.

Week 12: Broncos vs. Chiefs, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2:25 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Chiefs Broncos LogoWeek 13: Broncos at Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. EverBank Field

Denver Broncos Jacksonville Jaguars logoWeek 14: Broncos at Titans, Sunday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. Nissan Stadium

Denver Broncos Tennessee Titans logoWeek 15: Broncos vs. Patriots, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2:25 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

New England Patriots Denver Broncos Logo

A late season matchup against the Patriots could have major playoff implications. This rematch of the AFC Championship game — won by the Broncos in January — could be a snowy one.

Week 16: Broncos at Chiefs, Sunday, Dec. 25, 6:30 p.m. Arrowhead Stadium

Broncos Away Chiefs Home Logo

The Broncos last two games are on holidays. They play on Christmas Day in Kansas City. “It will be a tough place to play. We always have great games there,” Kubiak said on Thursday night after the release of the schedule.

Week 17: Broncos vs. Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 1,  2:25 p.m. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Raiders Broncos Logo

The Broncos finish the season with a matchup against their AFC West rivals the Raiders on New Year’s Day.

Elway says the team will need to be tough to take on this schedule, “Any time you win your division, you’re going to get the top dogs in the other divisions in the AFC. That’s why we have New England and Cincinnati. So it’s automatically going to be tough. We have to be ready to play and obviously you have to stay healthy. That’s always a big thing. We were fortunate enough to kind of stay healthy last year and when we did have some guys banged up we had young guys step up for us. People will be ready to play us, too. When you come off a world championship, you’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”

———————

The following are the dates and times of the Broncos 2016 preseason games:

Thursday, Aug. 11 Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 20 San Francisco vs. Denver Broncos, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27 L.A. Rams vs. Denver Broncos, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 1 Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 6:30 p.m.

Comments