Thursday Night Football Schedule 2013: Breaking Down Remaining Marquee Games

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 2:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints greets quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons after the Saints 35-27 victory in the game at the Louisiana Superdome on November 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Thursday Night Football has helped NFL fans get through their work week all season, and the small remaining schedule for 2013 should have football fans doing everything in their power to witness each matchup.

In Week 12, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints will rekindle their NFC South rivalry. After this week, though, there are several important games.

The already impressive slate of Thursday night games is only made more intriguing with the inclusion of three games on Thanksgiving.

But NFL fans must enjoy the midweek spectacle now before it’s gone. After Week 15, they won’t have Thursday Night Football again until the 2014 season.

I don’t know about you, but I already miss it.

 

Remaining Thursday Night Football Schedule
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatch
Nov. 218:25 p.m.New Orleans at AtlantaNFL Network
Nov. 2812:30 p.m.Green Bay at DetroitFox
Nov. 284:30 p.m.Oakland at DallasCBS
Nov. 288:30 p.m.Pittsburgh at BaltimoreNBC
Dec. 58:25 p.m.Houston at JacksonvilleNFL Network
Dec. 128:25 p.m.San Diego at DenverNFL Network
Schedule via NFL.com

 

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos, Week 15

The final Thursday Night Football game of the season will be an AFC West matchup between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. The anticipation for this heated divisional battle will reach a fever pitch as the game is featured heavily in the hype for Week 15.

As well as San Diego has played at times this season, the Chargers can’t hold a candle to the awe-inspiring offensive skill of the Broncos. Led by Peyton Manning and the most dangerous passing attack in the league, Denver will dismantle its opponent’s mediocre secondary on this national stage.

Tale of the Tape
Category (per game)Denver BroncosSan Diego Chargers
Passing Yards350.4 (first)287.9 (fourth)
Rushing Yards105.1 (20th)111.5 (16th)
Passing Yards Allowed279.1 (28th)275.5 (27th)
Rushing Yards Allowed92.7 (fourth)113.5 (16th)
Stats via ESPN

The Broncos haven’t been very good against the pass themselves, though, and squaring off against Philip Rivers and the talented San Diego offense will result in a closer battle than most fans might expect.

In the quarterback dual between Manning and Rivers, it will be Denver’s play-caller who steals the show and leads his team to a hard-fought victory. The Broncos could be playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs, and with this being their final regular-season home game on a short week, they'll have all the momentum to emerge with the win.

Predicted Final Score: Denver 30, San Diego 24

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, Week 13

There is no question that the aura around the AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens isn’t on the same level it once was when both teams were serious Super Bowl contenders, but the history in this rivalry is undeniable.

Anytime Baltimore plays Pittsburgh, fans get excited for the hard-nosed battle.

Tale of the Tape
Category (per game)Pittsburgh SteelersBaltimore Ravens
Passing Yards266.7 (seventh)225.3 (19th)
Rushing Yards76.5 (30th)83.2 (27th)
Passing Yards Allowed215.6 (eighth)237.2 (13th)
Rushing Yards Allowed125.2 (26th)102.7 (11th)
Stats via ESPN

This matchup will be the culminating game on the Thanksgiving holiday, and it should provide fans with the perfect nightcap to a wonderful day of football. While neither team has developed much chemistry on offense, the familiarity between the franchises will spawn legitimate animosity.

Baltimore has failed to live up to the franchise’s high expectations on the defensive side of the ball. While it's tied for eighth in points allowed per game, it hasn't been as opportunistic with just 13 takeaways. Pittsburgh will take advantage of a decent yet vulnerable defense by controlling the clock with the team's more balanced offense.

As long as Ben Roethlisberger protects the football and running back Le'Veon Bell can find his stride, this bitter Thanksgiving divisional battle should favor the road team.

Predicted Final Score: Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 17

 

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions, Week 13

The status of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still very much up in the air for the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. If Rodgers were to miss this matchup, it would give Detroit the opportunity it needs to shine.

Tale of the Tape
Category (per game)Green Bay PackersDetroit Lions
Passing Yards283.1 (fifth)310.6 (third)
Rushing Yards134.3 (sixth)103.7 (21st)
Passing Yards Allowed247.1 (21st)283.8 (30th)
Rushing Yards Allowed103.8 (13th)94.6 (fifth)
Stats via ESPN

Since Green Bay’s quarterback suffered a broken collarbone, the Packers have faltered and failed to fill the void he left. While backup Scott Tolzien has played well, he has not lived up to the high expectations set by Rodgers.

Even if Rodgers manages to play, though, the Lions still have the talent to steal the victory.

Detroit has failed to find consistency this season on offense or defense, but the major difference-maker for the team has been Calvin Johnson. The talented wide receiver will be a coverage nightmare for Green Bay and will give the Lions the distinct advantage the team needs to win this matchup.

The Packers will play their divisional foes tough, but the Lions will pull out the hard-fought win.

Predicted Final Score: Detroit 27, Green Bay 21