Thursday Night Matchup
This is not normally where a reader would turn to find kind words about Thursday Night Football.
Ill-prepared teams still worn from the previous Sunday, silly uniforms, bad matchups, the raft of problems with the Thursday night games are surely one reason NFL television ratings are down.
So here’s the weird thing: One team playing in this Thursday night matchup is 3-6 and the other is 4-5 and yet it should be compelling and fun.
The Carolina Panthers are the 3-6 team. They played in the last Super Bowl and seem not to have gotten over that defeat. The New Orleans Saints are 4-5 but have tightened up defensively since starting the season 0-3.
These two are NFC South rivals and, with seven games to play, hopeful of finding a way to catch the division-leading Atlanta Falcons (6-3). Whichever loses will be in precarious straits as far as the playoffs.
“No question. We put ourselves in a real desperate situation,” says Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. “The only people that can dig us out of it is ourselves.”
We’re hopeful about this game because the quarterbacks, Carolina’s Cam Newton and New Orleans’ Drew Brees, are equally capable of putting on a show, though in completely different styles. And we remember the earlier meeting this season, on Oct. 16, when the Saints stormed out to a 21-0 lead and then had to hold on to win 41-38. Brees passed for 465 yards and four touchdowns in that one.
We’re such pushovers. We’ll give the NFL one more chance on Thursday night. Every week.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman