Thanks Bill! MAF it is.
I should've posted sooner, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to actually SEE a 3800 timing chain. The old chain had more slack then the new one. The tensioner had some fairly deep grooves, but I'd guess it would've gone another 100K easy. Most of the 5 hours to do the timing chain is a waste, but did get some quality shop time with 16 year old son.
So, after buttoning up front cover, the condition was still present. No code, just backfire. Pulled the MAF connector, throttle to the floor. Fired right up. I'll pick up the new MAF sensor today and be on the road tomorrow.
Thanks to all that replied!