Thursday night’s N.F.L. game has some intriguing elements. The Carolina Panthers are desperately fighting to save a bad season after their Super Bowl run last year. The New Orleans Saints have the prolific passer Drew Brees and the game-breaking receiver Brandin Cooks.

On the other hand, adiposity it is also a battle between a 3-6 team and a 4-5 team. In that respect, it is very much a typical “Thursday Night Football” game this year.

There is always a sense of anticipation for Thursday night games. After 72 long hours without the N.F.L., fans are hungry for some football. But this season they have been served a slice of mediocrity.