NFL Announces 2017 London Schedule
On Tuesday the NFL officially announced which teams would be traveling to London, England, to play in the annual International Series next season.
Who will be there?
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Baltimore Ravens
- Miami Dolphins
- New Orleans Saints
- Cleveland Browns
- Minnesota Vikings
- Los Angeles Rams
- Arizona Cardinals
Four games in all will take place in the English capital, with the Jacksonville Jaguars taking on the Baltimore Ravens in the first matchup in either Week 3 or Week 4. This will be Jacksonville’s fifth consecutive season that includes a trip to London, while the Ravens will be playing in London for the first time ever.
The Jags notched one of their two wins this season in London when they were able to hold off the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 30-27. The game next season will take place at Wembley Stadium.
Another game will feature the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints, and that will be played in either Week 3 or Week 4, as well. This will be the Dolphins’ fourth ever trip to London, while the Saints will be making their second appearance across the pond. That game will also go down at Wembley.
Twickenham, which is a rugby stadium, will host the other two matchups in Weeks 7 and 8, respectively. One game will pit the Cleveland Browns against the Minnesota Vikings, while the other will feature an NFC West showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona and Cleveland will also be London debutantes.
Twickenham hosted an NFL game for the first time earlier this season when the Rams lost to the New York Giants, 17-10, back in late October.
Which teams will lose a real home game?
The Jaguars, Rams, Dolphins and Browns will be the “home” teams for these games, which means they will each forfeit a home game in their actual base cities.
As touched on above, the Jaguars have long held an agreement with the NFL to “host” a game in London every season. Jacksonville ranks 26th out of the 32 teams this season so far in average attendance, drawing a little over 62,000 fans per game.
The Browns have been a garbage franchise for a number of years, so their logic must just be that it can’t possibly hurt to try and expand the fanbase. Cleveland, who appears headed for a winless 0-16 campaign, is 23rd in average attendance thus far in 2016.
The Dolphins agreed to “host” one game over in Europe when the NFL decided to award the 2020 Super Bowl to South Florida. Miami is 21st in attendance this season.
The Rams will be playing in London for the second straight year, as they agreed to do so until their new stadium in Los Angeles is completed. Construction on the new facility in Inglewood recently got underway, and it is projected to open in August of 2019.
In the meantime, the Rams have been playing at the Coliseum. Attendance has been fairly strong on the whole in their first season back in Southern California in over 20 years, though the numbers have declined of late as the team’s performance has suffered.
The Rams rank seventh in attendance at over 74,000 fans per game. Considering the Coliseum holds better than 93,000, though, that figure does not look overly impressive.
NFL history in London
The NFL has been holding at least one game in London per year since 2007, when the Giants toppled the Dolphins, 13-10. 15 of the 17 games played there thus far have drawn at least 80,000 fans to Wembley Stadium.
The four games to be held in 2017 will be the most in a single season for the NFL.
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