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Chargers Embrace Opportunity to Make Statement on National Stage

It doesn't get much bigger than this.

Outside the Super Bowl, perhaps no game attracts more eyes than the annual Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas.

This year, it's the Chargers' turn to take on the Cowboys.

There may not be a bigger football junkie in the entire NFL than Philip Rivers.  That's why number 17 is thankful for the opportunity to take the field this Thursday in front of the entire nation.

"I think besides a playoff game, I don't think it gets any bigger," Rivers said. "Playing on Thanksgiving, I don't know if that's something any of our guys that have been on teams have done. Certainly, I know it's something we haven't done in here. I'm always watching those games on Thanksgiving so it's exciting going to Dallas, playing a really good team. It's probably the last opportunity (I'll) get to do it and I'm looking forward to it."

"Playing on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, it may be the second-largest game in the league, other than playing in the Super Bowl," echoed Head Coach Anthony Lynn.  "So it really is an honor to play in that game."

You don't need to be an NFL veteran to recognize the magnitude that comes with playing on Thanksgiving.  Watching the games at home surrounded by family and friends is a tradition shared by most of the country.  To now play in it is an absolute dream come true for vets and rookies alike.

"It's a dream come true, to be honest," said Austin Ekeler. "I was talking to my mother about it yesterday. She was like, 'Man, I remember sitting at your grandfather's house, watching the Thursday game on Thanksgiving. Now you're going to be playing in it.' She'll be there, too, so I'm very thankful for that. But it's a dream come true, something that I've looked forward to for a long time.  I didn't know if I'd have an opportunity, but here I am, so it's a great feeling."

"I just remember going to my grandma's house and watching all of the games when I was a little kid," added Mike Williams. "I'm looking forward to it. Everybody back home is going to get the game. I know my family is getting together, and a lot of my family is coming to the game. These are the games that we look forward to in the league. It's on Thanksgiving and everybody's watching, so I'm looking forward to it."

It's one thing to be a part of the Thanksgiving Day game.

It's another to make a statement.

With all eyes on the Bolts, they recognize this is a rare opportunity to prove to the entire football world the type of team they've become.  From an 0-4 start to going 4-2 in their last six games, the Chargers have firmly gotten themselves back in the playoff hunt.

Now, it's time to show they are for real.

"Getting this one is huge before two home games, so it's a big game for both teams.," Rivers explained, adding onto what he said after beating the Buffalo Bills.  "We're not way out of the division and not way out of the hunt. That's exciting and encouraging. It shouldn't be hard to keep us focused on the task at hand… Just be fired up that we still have everything in front of us. There's obviously no room for any more hiccups, but (we're) excited about the opportunity ahead."

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