One of the jokes about the NFL’s games in London has been that we annually send the United Kingdom terrible matchups. That shouldn’t be the case in 2018.
It’s impossible to predict in January which teams will be good in October, but all three London games that were announced on Thursday should be good matchups. If they end up being boring games, it’s hard to say the NFL didn’t try its best to send over a trio of good games.
The three announced games will be in consecutive weeks, in Weeks 6-8 of the NFL season. The first game will be on Oct. 14, the Seattle Seahawks will be the road team against the Oakland Raiders. The game will be at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Seahawks and Raiders were both playoff teams in 2016, then each slipped a bit in 2017. But the Raiders are intriguing again with coach Jon Gruden, and could improve quickly with stars like quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack. The Seahawks face an interesting 2018 as they face some major offseason questions, but they’ve been one of the NFL’s best teams and quarterback Russell Wilson is always a must-watch.
The second game that was announced features a pair of division champions who are still alive in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles will play against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have become a regular in London. That game will be on Oct. 21 or Oct. 28 at Wembley Stadium. The Eagles won the NFC East, and hopefully by the time they hit London next season quarterback Carson Wentz will be back from a knee injury. The Jaguars won the AFC South with one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The third game that was announced will be between the Tennessee Titans and one of the teams they barely edged out for a wild-card spot, the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers will be the home team for the game, which will be Oct. 21 or 28 at Wembley Stadium. Both teams will be considered playoff contenders in 2018. The Chargers were probably the best team to not make the playoffs this season, and the Titans made it and won a wild-card game last week. All three of the designated road teams will be making their first trip to London for a regular-season game.
The NFL started playing regular-season games in London in 2007. There will be just three London games after having four in 2017, and that helps the quality of the matchups too. Very rarely have there been good matchups in London, either because the league has not been sending its best teams or has been getting unlucky and teams that looked good when the schedule came out have disappointed.
The matchups could look bad by October because the league is unpredictable. But as of right now, it looks like the NFL is sending six potential playoff contenders to London for the three games there.
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