The New Orleans Saints previously have played a Thursday night road game this season, back in Week 2.
But back then, it was 700-mile trip to Charlotte, N.C., to play the Panthers, an NFC South Division opponent with a relatively close proximity.
In two days, the short-week game will take the Saints (7-7) on a 1,900-mile trip, to Inglewood, Calif., to face the Los Angeles Rams (7-7) of the NFC West Division at Sofi Stadium. New Orleans will look to extend its two-game winning streak against the Rams, who have won four of their last five.
"It doesn't really matter what I think," Saints Coach Dennis Allen said about the travel. "Obviously, our job is to go out and play the game. It's tough, it's challenging when you have to go on the road for a Thursday night game, particularly when you have to travel across the country. (But) it is what it is.
"We've got to figure out a way to get ourselves prepared, and get ourselves healthy and healed up and ready to go for Thursday night. Because regardless of what we think or how we feel, we're going to kick that ball off on Thursday night and we've got to be ready to play."
The Rams will present challenges not only because of the abbreviated week, but because the team has found its groove at the right time.
Los Angeles has won its last four games by an average score of 30-17.
On offense, quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 278 of 453 passes for 3,320 yards and 21 touchdowns, with nine interceptions; receiver Puka Nakua has caught 87 passes for 1,163 yards and four touchdowns; and running back Kyren Williams, who has averaged 131 rushing yards in the last five games, has 953 yards and eight touchdowns on 186 carries, plus three touchdowns and 192 yards on 30 catches.
The defense again is led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time All-Pro who's tied for the team lead with six sacks.
"Defensively, they're very active," Allen said. "Aaron Donald up front is a game-changer in terms of what he can do, both in the run game and in the passing game. He's a significant problem that we have to deal with. (Cornerback Ahkello) Witherspoon (three interceptions) has been playing at high level this year out on the edge. I think they do some good things defensively. They play really hard, they play really aggressive.
"And then offensively, I think (Coach) Sean McVay does as good a job offensively as any coach in our league in terms of just being able to package plays together. They're not real exotic in terms of the formations that they use. They use a lot of the same formations, same motions and get to a lot of different plays out of those looks.
"I think they understand how teams are trying to defend them, they understand in the run game where the force players are and how they have to try to manipulate their offense to get players in the spots that they want them to be in. And I think they do a good job of executing, particularly in the play-action passing game."
Allen said the Rams especially have been effective in the run game because of the receivers' contributions.
"I think they're blocking it really well up front," he said. "Their receivers are some of the best blockers in our league. They block extremely hard on the perimeter. They do a great job; they know who to target, they get all their targets. And I think both their runners are kind of downhill, one-cut runners.
"They run physical, they're able to push the pile. I think schematically, offensively they do a good job of putting their guys in good positions and I think their guys take pride in blocking in the run game. And they've been exceptionally well at it."
All of which means the Saints – short-week, long-distance game or not – are faced with conjuring their best game in order to remain atop the NFC South.
"I think that's what we need to do, so that's what our focus is going to be," Allen said. "We'll go out and play the game on Thursday and we all expect to be able to execute at a high level."