"I’m really excited," Thomas said Wednesday. "It’s been a long time coming, and I can’t wait to play against the Chargers."
The Giants hosted the San Francisco 49ers in 2008, Thomas' rookie season. They played at San Francisco twice in 2011 (including the NFC Championship Game) and again in 2012, but Thomas missed both seasons due to torn ACLs.
And the last time the Giants faced the AFC West, in 2009, both the Chargers and Oakland Raiders traveled to the Meadowlands.
Thomas has had to work hard to secure tickets for all the family and friends who want to attend Sunday's game. "Sixty-seven, to be exact," Thomas said, when asked how many tickets he's gotten. "And it’s going up by the minute."
Thomas hails from Alto Loma, Calif., -- about two hours from San Diego, closer to Los Angeles. He played his college ball at the University of Southern California. But he did not grow up rooting for any of the NFL's California teams. Instead, Thomas rooted for the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos.
"They weren't that good," Thomas said, referring to the California teams. "Emmitt Smith and then Terrell Davis -- I was more of a running back. You know, when you're a kid, you go to the team that's good."
Thomas is also looking forward to seeing Chargers safety Eric Weddle, a childhood friend since they played Pop Warner football together.
And he will be able to go up against Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown, who attended the same high school. "There’s been a lot of talk, who’s better, so hopefully I can shut that down come this week," Thomas said.
Brown is only sixth on the Chargers in receiving this season, with 33 catches for 350 yards. But quarterback Philip Rivers has plenty of other weapons, led by rookie wideout Keenan Allen (58 catches, 843 yards) and veteran tight end Antonio Gates (64 catches, 726 yards).
Rivers leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.0), is fourth in passing yards (302.8 per game), and the Chargers are fourth in total offene (401.6 yards per game).
"It’s gonna be a tough matchup for us," Thomas said. "They do a lot of things with their passing concepts, and Philip Rivers does a good job of stepping up and getting the ball out fast. So it’s gonna be a challenge for our secondary to match their receivers."