Let's be upfront: There are spicier Thursday Night Football games this season than Chargers-Chiefs. The lead story in Thursday's U-T San Diego was titled "The Walking Dead?" underneath a picture of Romeo Crennel and Norv Turner. Good times.
This game features two coaches (and two general managers) that desperately need a victory. It also has more than enough storylines for fans like me that love all 256 NFL games like children, even if a couple of them have crooked teeth:
1. The San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs feature two of the ten most talented running backs in football. Jamaal Charles is what Chris Johnson is supposed to be. Charles will be well rested after getting only five carries against the Oakland Raiders.
San Diego's Ryan Mathews remains an enigma, especially to his fantasy owners. He's such a smooth, natural runner and has a complete skill set. But he still hasn't put together an extended run of dominance. In key situations, the team still puts Ronnie Brown on the field. Not good.
2. When most of America last saw Philip Rivers, he was going through an epic second half turnover spree on "Monday Night Football." His following effort in Cleveland may have been more troubling.
The Chargers offense was held to six points in Cleveland. While the weather didn't help, it's strange to see such a lifeless Chargers offense. Rivers had the team only a first down away from a potential game-winning field goal late last week. Then he threw four straight incompletions. It's hard to imagine that ever happening to Rivers a few years ago.
3. I watched the game last week using NFL's new TNF Extra App. Cool experience. I might be fined by Roger Goodell for saying anything else, but it really is amazing how quickly spoiled we are by cool second screen experiences. The app has a ton of extra game info, live reports from Solomon Wilcots and interactive features like predicting plays and drives. Download it as part of the NFL '12 app.
4. A win by the Chargers puts them at 4-4 and possibly in to a first-place tie with the Denver Broncos. A loss would give them the ugliest four game losing streak possible: blowing a big lead to a winless team (New Orleans Saints), blowing a 24-point lead and suffering two losses to a one-win team.