American football fans, it’s that time again! The NFL is hopping across the pond to grace British turf with its explosive and thrilling plays. This year, the international spread of games is broader than ever, with a total of five matchups set to unfold across Europe. Out of these, London will host three sizzling encounters, while Frankfurt, Germany, bags two of its own.
Dates for Your Diary
All set for some action-packed Sundays? Here are the London dates you should be circling in red:
Sunday, 1st October 2023: Atlanta Falcons vs Jacksonville Jaguars – Kick off at 2:30 pm at Wembley Stadium
Sunday, 8th October 2023: Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills – Starting 2:30 pm at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Sunday, 15th October 2023: Baltimore Ravens go head-to-head with Tennessee Titans at 2:30 pm, again at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A Look Down Memory Lane
For those newer to the game, London and the NFL share quite a history. The romance began in 2007 when the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants clashed at Wembley, with the Giants taking the spoils in a closely fought 13-10 game. That unforgettable match drew an astounding 80,000 spectators. Fast forward to today, and the NFL London spectacle grows in grandeur year after year. From fan parades to the iconic tailgate parties, each match day is an event in itself. This year, with three live games, there’s ample opportunity to soak in the NFL experience, right here in the UK.
Despite the NFL only gracing English shores 16 years ago, a whole host of games have been played in London – 33 to be precise. The league designates a “home” team and an “away” team for each game. Does this designation have any significance on win percentage? No, but it’s interesting to see that the “home” team has won 57% of the games played in London.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been sent over to England’s capital the most – this recent stand will mark their 10th and 11th time over there. Why always them? Rumour has it that these games are to drum up interest for a potential expansion team in London. The London Jaguars, anyone? It’s more likely than you think.
Atlanta Falcons vs Jacksonville Jaguars:
Historically, the Falcons versus the Jags is a rare match-up, only clashing eight times since the Jags were established in 1993. This infrequent meeting can be attributed to them belonging to different conferences. But, when they have met, the games have always been thrilling.
Currently, the Falcons lead with five victories to the Jags’ three. Interestingly, this isn’t the Falcons’ first London rodeo – they’ve been here twice, with their latest visit in 2021 resulting in a memorable Falcons win. And who can forget the rookie at the time, Kyle Pitts marking his first touchdown in the NFL? The Jaguars travel to London on the back of a heavy 17-37 defeat to Houston Texans but that hasn’t stopped bookmakers making the Jags slight favourites for the encounter. Odds from top new betting sites currently value the Jags favourites with prices around 4/6. Meanwhile you can get a price of 6/5 for Atlanta, making for quite an even matchup according to the bookmakers.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills:
This isn’t the first tussle on London soil for these two. Back in 2015, in a game that kept everyone on the edge of their seats, the Jaguars edged the Bills 34-31 at Wembley. For the Bills, this means one less home game in 2023. But given the passion of Bills fans and their tendency to travel in numbers, we can expect a roaring crowd in London – something I’m sure bookmakers will be wary of.
The Bills come to Europe in good form, on the back of a commanding 3-37 victory over the Washington Commanders. On a separate note, the design of Tottenham’s stadium has been a significant inspiration on the Bills’ new ground (set to open in 2026), which might just give the Bills a familiar “home” vibe.
Baltimore Ravens vs Tennessee Titans:
Concluding the 2023 games in London, the Ravens and Titans promise a curtain-closer that will entertain. The Titans, who last visited the capital in 2018, are playing the “home” side this time around. This particular fixture has stirred some emotions, with fans bemoaning the move of such a pivotal non-division game from Nashville to London.
However, the intensity between these sides, reminiscent of the old division rivalry days, is sure to set the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium alight. The Ravens, meanwhile, come into this game nursing their wounds from a recent 22-19 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts, a game where their offence faced significant challenges.
Tips for Transatlantic Travellers
So, you’re crossing the pond for the London games… Let me give you a few pro tips to up your game. First, let’s make sure you know your stuff! Dive into a good NFL book and brush up on your knowledge and get to know all the grid-iron jargon, so you’re not scratching your head during the game.
Rock those team colours, and if you’re feeling extra, why not slap on some face paint? London becomes awash with fans repping their team’s jersey. Don’t worry if your team isn’t there, wear it anyway and join in the NFL festivities! There are also a number of shops, stalls and markets for you to purchase some official gear and a memento from the game.
Now, if you didn’t snag a ticket, no worries. There are plenty of sports bars around London where you can join the action. Oh, and don’t forget about the ‘NFL Experience London’ at Battersea Power Station on the 7th. Tons of fun stuff happening there like football challenges, and you can even catch choreographed cheerleader performances. How cool is that? Enjoy the vibes, and have a blast in London!
So, there you have it, folks! The 2023 London NFL games are shaping up to be blockbusters. Whether you’re a hardcore American football enthusiast or someone looking to dive into the frenzy for the first time, London is the place to be this October. So, grab your jerseys, warm up your tailgating skills, and gear up for some transatlantic football action!