Who is playing Thursday Night Football?

The Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos in a lopsided TNF game on paper.
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

The beauty of a thrilling primetime matchup on Thursday Night Football is how it can center a much-needed focus on a major rivalry or at least upon two teams who match up well on paper for the sake of an exciting game. This week, that's not going to happen—or at least no one should expect it—between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.

The NFL gods likely were hoping for much better results out of Mile High this fall with new head coach Sean Payton around. The Denver Broncos believed they were potentially ready for better things after finishing just under .500 a year ago in a disappointing season for Russell Wilson and company after making the blockbuster trade for the former Seattle Seahawks quarterback (and league MVP). When the season fell apart, Payton became the offseason hire who would right the ship.

The Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos in a lopsided TNF game on paper.

Instead, the Broncos are even worse than they were a year ago—at least through the first five games of the season. Not only are the Broncos in the divisional basement in the AFC West at 1-4 but they also visit the Chiefs in Week 6 for a Thursday Night Football showdown featuring teams with opposite records and trajectories. Even worse for the Broncos is that they face K.C. twice in the next three games. In short, their season could be unofficially over very quickly here—if it's not already.

As for the Chiefs, they're coming off of tough consecutive road wins at New York against the Jets and at Minneapolis against the Vikings. The team's defense has carried them along so far while the offense looks good in doses. With such a young receiving corps, the Chiefs are still learning how to employ the pass catchers on the team, but the team's defense is giving them the margin to do just that and still win.

Will Denver rise up and win? Are they even going to make it close? The pre-game spread won't be pretty, but that's why we play the game. Denver's fans can only hope TNF is the sort of close inter-divisional battle the NFL wanted before the season began.